The 'Exotic Dancer' by Ferdinando Vichi is a powerful and capitvating Orientalist depiction of a woman dancing. The woman holds, in her raised arms, a shawl that appears to twist and move as she does. In his carving of the shawl and other textures, such as the dancer's smooth skin, flowing hair and sweeping skirt, as well as the carefully articulated jewellery and palm fronds growing from the plinth, Vichi reveals himself to be a master at conveying movement and delicacy in marble.
In all its movement and intensity of feeling, the 'Exotic Dancer' sculpture epitomises the Romantic character of the Belle Epoque in Italy, expressed most strongly in the work of the Bazzanti gallery artists.
Active in Florence in the late 19th and early 20th Century, Ferdinando Vichi was a well-established artist who was connected with the sculptors of the Galleria Bazzanti workshops, such as Cesare Lapini and Guglielmo Pugi. By the end of the 19th Century, Vichi was so well known as a sculptor that he had an alabaster workshop named after him.
Vichi was particularly skilled at producing Romantic pieces like the 'Exotic Dancer', but the sculptor also produced artwork inspired by the Antique and Renaissance.
While Vichi was well respected in his native Florence and subsequently recieved a number of local commissions, including one for a World War I memorial, the sculptor intended a great deal of his work, particularly his Romantic work, for a more international clientele.
Indeed, the 'Exotic Dancer' did not remain long in Florence, but was soon shipped off to Paris to be exhibited in the 1914 Salon. The sculpture was then bought by the Bazar Colon (Columbus Gallery) in Montevideo, Uruguay. A publication of a Danzatrice in the first edition of Selecta magazine, dated May 1917, shows the 'Exotic Dancer' in the Uruguayan gallery. Note too how the plinth is signed 'F Vichi Salon 1914/Marmo di Carrara' and inset with a retailers label for Bazar Colon, Montevideo.
- Exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1914
- Acquired by Bazar Colon, Montevideo, Uruguay by 1917
- Purchased by the previous owner from a Gallery in Geneva, Switzerland in the 1970's
- Selecta magazine, Ano 1, Numero 1, Montevideo, May 1917, with a full page advertisement for Bazar Colon, including an illustration of this sculpture;
- Selecta magazine, Ano 1, Numero 6, Montevideo, October 1917, with a full page advertisement for Bazar Colon, tures in the gallery;
- Dizionario Degli Scultori Italiani Dell' Ottocento e del primo Novecento, by A. Panzetta, 1994, Vol. II, page 201