Giacomo Ginotti debuted in 1877 at the Esposizione Nazionale in Naples with “Slave”, a work produced in Rome, where the sculptor had moved after winning a scholarship to the Caccia college in Novara, and where he was to live until 1885, when he returned to Turin. The “violent struggle of the slave to break her chains” appeared to critics as “more apparent than real”: “the movement begins energetically at the shoulders, then gradually fades and softens down to the wrists; the line of the side is irresolute, but the bust enclosed between the arms is beautiful”: appreciation for the physical and clearly erotic qualities of the simulacrum – “the surface of the marble is extremely flesh-like in the nude portions, to the point of seeming coloured, so to speak” – was combined with appreciation of its ideal meaning. The example in a private collection in Turin, from an old Neapolitan collection, should be identified on the basis of several free and refined details of execution, as well as the autograph, signature and date on the marble and a label from the prize received at the International Exhibition in Paris in 1878; the statue from the public collection in Turin, which is “more balanced and synthetic”, should be recognised as a subsequent work by a sculptor who used the plaster cast preserved in the Pinacoteca di Varallo as a model. Many replicas were made of the sculpture, which achieved great success, also through bronze reductions of high commercial value. At the Paris Exhibition of 1878, the critic appointed to write the report for the Italian modern art section reserved a special mention for Giacomo Ginotti from Rome and, overcoming the proverbial chauvinism, admitted that the work perhaps displayed qualities superior to those of “Spartacus” by Denis Foyatier (1830), preserved in the Louvre: “Cet habile statuaire dont le nom était jusqu’à ce jour à peu prés inconnu vient en effet de conquérir définitivement ses lettres de noblesse en envoyant à l’Exposition l’Emancipazione dalla schiavitù. […] Nous n’avons pas sous les yeux un marbre insensible, mais de la chair vivante dont tous les muscles semblent frémi à l’unisson; jamais statutaire n’a plus parfaitement assoupli une matière rebelled” (C. Lamarre, A. Roux, L’Italie et l’Exposition de 1878, Paris 1878).