Isabella and Octavio – characters from the Commedia dell’arte


Franz Anton Bustelli

Neudeck-Nymphenburg Porcelain Factory, c. 1760

Hard-paste porcelain

H. 19.7 cm and 19.2 cm

Acquired at the auction of the collection Edmé Rothschild in 1977

Inv. No. 77/50, 77/51

Gallery 95

Sculpture, Ceramics, Fashion and Accessories, Porcelain

Baroque and Rococo


The sixteen comedy figures by the Nymphenburg modeller Franz Anton Bustelli are among the most beautiful porcelain figurines of the Rococo period. The highly gracefully composed and expressively modelled figurines tell a turbulent love story that goes back to the Commedia dell'arte, the Italian impromptu theatre. The focus here is on the beautiful Isabella and the elegant Octavio. Isabella is visibly torn as to whether she should give in to the gallant's courtship. The thumb and forefinger of her right hand form a ring in a clear gesture that she does not want a brief flirtation but marriage.A complete and exquisitely painted ensemble of comedy figures dating back to the Bustelli period can only be found at the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum.

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