A small bronze copy of the Laocoon Group

THIS BRONZE COPY of the Laocoon group is only 30 cm high. It was bequeathed to the Victoria & Albert Museum by George Salting in 1910. Unfortunately it seems that this collector did not keep very good records, and its further provenance is not known. The description page of the museum gives its origin as Italy, 16th or 17th century, that’s all.

What makes this copy so interesting is that its restored parts are closer to Michelangelo’s suggestion than any other. Michelangelo thought that the missing arms should be bent backwards. Baccio Bandinelli’s copy goes in that direction, but not as far as this little bronze. The restorations on the original however were made according to the suggestions of Jacopo Sansovino, who modeled Laocoon’s arm outstretched.

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