In what was the villa's drawing room – in which the female nudes on either side of the fireplace demonstrate the master's extraordinary skill in working marble – an attempt has been made to bring together examples of the genre work of the two sculptor brothers, Lorenzo (1812-97) and Vincenzo (1820-91). The latter’s production was what is referred to as "genre portraiture", which is highly suited to a natural and engaging representation of childhood. His older brother focused instead on genre sculpture as it is traditionally understood, in which he succeeded in articulating a charming and, with regard to the modelling, an inventive, anecdotal form of expression, often resorting to his favourite theme, the world of animals.
A highly refined example of child portraiture, this is the young daughter of Marchese Carlo d'Adda and Mariquita Falcò in an enchanting genre scene, accompanied by her dog - a well-tried formula in coeval painting. In the middle decade of the century this was a successful combination for Vincenzo Vela. The rendition of the details is masterful without becoming affected, as the freshness and spontaneity of the modelling are skilfully combined with a masterful composition. The sculptor's constant ability to translate the formal lessons of the past into fashionable representations - making use of "contemporary" themes - was one of Vela's great gifts.
Marble, 1852-54, Venice, private collection
The work Three Bathers was supposed to be a life-size group portrait of the three daughters of Marchese Ala Ponzone, who are seen on the bank of a pool, on the point of entering the water.
This attractive and natural plaster model revolves around the skilful and carefully proportioned arrangement of the young girls' bodies. However, a marble copy was never made of the model, due to a misunderstanding between the artist and his client.