Forging Authenticity

Forging Authenticity


Published by Leo S. Olschki Editore (Florence)


Giovanni Bastianini (1830–1868) was a gifted Florentine sculptor, but an outstanding creator of fakes. His work had sold at extremely high prices at auction, to famous collectors and to famous museums (to mention only the Louvre) before he was betrayed by a jealous rival. This book explores both his own style and the style of the works he sold as Renaissance art, and the nature of the demand for them. 



Giovanni Bastianini (1830-1868) was a Florentine sculptor whose creations answered to the growing demand for Renaissance and Renaissance-like works of art during the second half of the 19th century. Arguably the most infamous and gifted imitator/faker of Italian Renaissance sculpture, he became a subject of great controversy during his lifetime that continues to this day. 


This book examines Bastianini’s total oeuvre, exploring the differences between his pseudo-Renaissance and his contemporary ‘period’ style. At the same time, it places him firmly within the economic, political and cultural context that encouraged the production of neo-Renaissance art, which found a ready market in both Europe and the New World. The book will be of great interest not only to scholars of Italian Renaissance and nineteenth-century sculpture attempting to sort out the authentic from works of questionable attribution, but also to those engaged in the history of taste and the conditions surrounding the Risorgimento that promoted the creation and acquisition of Renaissance art and artifacts in both Europe and the New World during the latter part of the nineteenth century.

  • Anita Fiderer Moskowitz

    Forging Authenticity: Giovanni Bastianini and the Neo-Renaissance in Nineteenth-Century Florence


    March 2018 (first published 2013, Italy)

    Published by Leo S. Olschki
    Distributed by Ad Ilissum

    ISBN: 978 88 222 6171 7

    Hardback, 320 x 215 mm

    190 pages, 91 illustrations

  • About the author

    Anita Moskowitz, Professor Emerita at Stony Brook University, has lectured and published widely on Italian Gothic and Renaissance sculpture, and issues of forgery and imitations. Her books include The Sculpture of Andrea and Nino Pisano, Nicola Pisano’s Arca di San Domenico and its Legacy, Italian Gothic Sculpture c. 1250-c. 1400, Nicola and Giovanni Pisano Pulpits, and The Façade Reliefs of Orvieto Cathedral. 

  • About Leo S. Olschki Editore

    Leo S. Olschki Editore (Florence) is one of Italy's oldest and most respected publishers of critical works in the humanities.

© 2017 by Paul Holberton publishing