Attributed to Benedikt Wurzelbauerabout 1600

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Despite his small size, this figure of Neptune, god of the sea, has a powerful and imposing presence. He may have originally been the centerpiece for a fountain. In his right hand he once held a trident, now missing, while in his left he holds a conch shell. The artist, probably Benedikt Wurzelbauer, suggests the nude figure's great strength through the carefully articulated muscles on his chest and the veins on his arms. The figure leans his weight on his back leg, arching his back slightly as if fighting the wind that blows his hair and beard. His upraised arms, the twist of his right wrist, and the position of his feet recall dance poses. The high gloss on the bronze and the slight twist in the torso bring out a shimmering play of light on the metallic surface. In contrast to Italian practice, German foundries of this period frequently used wood rather than terracotta or wax models. The rigid treatment of this figure's details, together with its stiff pose and the planar handling of its surfaces, suggests that it was cast from a carved wood model.

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  • Title: Neptune
  • Creator: Attributed to Benedikt Wurzelbauer
  • Date: about 1600
  • Physical Dimensions: 62.2 cm (24 1/2 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Sculpture
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 94.SB.54
  • Display Location: Currently on view at: Getty Center, Museum North Pavilion, Gallery N101
  • Department: Sculpture & Decorative Arts
  • Culture: German
  • Classification: Sculpture