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Like drawings and prints, small bronzes traveled easily, and their influence spread widely. By the sixteenth century, emulations of Italian examples could be found in many European centers, and once methods of multiple reproduction were perfected, a thriving export trade in bronze statuettes developed. The dissemination of Italian models can complicate problems of attribution, as with this figure of Paris, which is sometimes believed to be a sixteenth-century German imitation of Pollaiuolo but seems more likely to be by a fifteenth-century Florentine sculptor. The lean, knobby-jointed figure, with its schematized musculature and jaunty pose, reflects a type of nude found repeatedly in the art of Pollaiuolo, particularly in works of various media earlier than the probable date of the Frick Hercules.

Paris, the Trojan prince reared as a shepherd, leans lightly on his curving shepherd's staff and holds in his left hand the apple of discord. Paris awarded the apple to Venus as prize in a beauty contest, thereby offending the other competitors, Juno and Athena, a judgment that led to the Trojan War. Some casts of this bronze have a companion figure of Venus. The Frick version is perhaps the finest of ten known casts of similar models.

Source: Art in The Frick Collection: Paintings, Sculpture, Decorative Arts, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1996.

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