Statue in terracotta of the Lateran Sophocles, stamped ‘Sommer Napoli 25’. Giorgio Sommer was born in Frankfurt where he studied business, but it was as a photographer that he made his career becoming one of Europe’s leading pioneers in the commercial use of the new art form. It was after his move to Naples in 1856 that his success took flight providing tourists visiting the city with impressive views of the city of Naples, its monuments, the bay and the excavations in Pompei. Sommer also started a workshop producing statues in bronze and terracotta. Where those in bronze can be found more often, the ones in terracotta like ours are more rare given the fragilety of the material. Like for most of his statues Sommer used a famous statue from antiquity as a model for our terracotta one: the statue of Sophocles in the Lateran museum. This museum was founded by Pope Gregory XVI in 1844 and housed in the palace of Lateran next to St John in Lateran’s Basilica in Rome. When the museum was closed in 1970 the collection moved to the Vatican museum.
Site by Artimin