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Renaissance-style tomb of Maria Catherine Sabello

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Sculptured effigy reclining on sarcophagus with acanthus cutting; flanked by two decorated pilasters; composite capitals, carved cornice; two armorial shields; whole supported on two richly carved console brackets. Yellow and grayish white marble.


20th century, created by Alceo Dossena (b. 1878 - d. 1937) [see note 1]; by 1922, sold as a tomb by Mino da Fiesole (Italian, b. 1429 - d. 1484), probably by Dossena's dealers, Alfredo Fasoli and Alfredo Pallesi, Rome, to Elia Volpi (b. 1858 - d. 1938), Florence; 1923, sold by Volpi, through Carlo Balboni, Venice, to Philip Gentner for the MFA for $100,135. (Accession Date: April 3, 1924) NOTES: [1] Alceo Dossena produced imitations of Renaissance and antique sculpture, which were sold by the Roman dealers Alfredo Fasoli and Alfredo Pallesi as authentic. By 1922, this tomb had already been sold to the restorer and collector Elia Volpi. Through the Venetian dealer Carlo Balboni, Volpi offered it for sale, and in 1923 it was acquired by the MFA. In 1928 the press exposed the fraudulent practices of Fasoli and Pallesi, and the authenticity of the MFA tomb was brought into question -- although it continued to be debated for many years. For more information, see Roberta Ferrazza, "Alceo Dossena e i falsi d'autore," in Palazzo Davanzati e le collezioni di Elia Volpi (Florence, 1994), pp. 223-254.

Credit Line

Maria Antoinette Evans Fund

Italian, 20th century, about 1920


180 cm (70 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Stone; marble