Boy with a Rooster

Adriano Cecioni, 1836/38 - 1886

Made in Italy, Europe

Modeled c. 1868, cast about 1873


31 x 19 x 17 inches (78.7 x 48.3 x 43.2 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Lynda and Stewart Resnick, 2015

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Additional information:
  • PublicationGifts in Honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

    The Florentine artist Adriano Cecioni made his international reputation in 1870, when this amusing, literal, and compelling statue was shown at the Salon in Paris. Immediately recognized as the central sculptor in the new Italian movement called Verismo (Realism), Cecioni’s distinctive personality and quick wit made him one of the most original artists associated with this style.

    The artist took his subjects from everyday life but rendered them in traditional Tuscan sculptural motifs, all with ingenuity and remarkable technical skill. At first this work seems like a popular and vulgar genre piece of a little boy undone by his own mischief in trying to hitch a rooster to his toy cannon. It is, in fact, a pointed and very modern reference to Andrea del Verrocchio’s Renaissance masterpiece Putto with a Dolphin, in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence. The sculpture also harks back to numerous Hellenistic marbles in which children are shown grappling with geese. Cecioni’s modernity and innovation are evident in his sculpture’s appropriation and popularization of models from the past.

    Both the original plaster and a marble are in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence. This exceptionally sharp and finished cast is marked by the French fondeur Louis Martin. The inscription, Medailles Wien, on the base may refer to the Vienna Exhibition of 1873, where the piece was shown and praised, particularly for the veracity of the casting. Joseph Rishel, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gifts in Honor of the 125th Anniversary (2002), p. 72.