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Mountain of Hell Agostino Zoppo


Agostino Zoppo Padua 1515 – 1572 Padua

Culture Italian
Date 1550–1560
Object type sculpture
Medium, technique bronze with black patina

26.5 × 26.5 × 24 cm, 5.5 kg

Inventory number 84.1
Collection Sculpture
On view Museum of Fine Arts, Second Floor, European Sculpture 1350-1800, Gallery 2

This small bronze was once used as the lid of a perfume burner, so on its smokey and dark interior cover the outlet holes can still be seen. Currently, five versions are known, and they are attributed to the Paduan sculptor and bronze caster Agostino Zoppo. After Zoppo’s death, four similar small bronzes were recorded in an inventory of his workshop. The statuette depicts a story known from antique
sources: Alcestis, a Greek princess who chose death in order to save her husband, but whom Heracles rescued from the underworld. The mountain above them was populated by the inhabitants of the underworld: the Erinyes, deities of vengeance, Hades, god of the underworld, and Cerberus, a threeheaded dog guarding the Gates of Hell.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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