Giovanni Francesco Susini’s Laocoön is considered to be his most beautiful copy of an Antique work in the Princely Collection. According to Virgil’s "Aeneid", the Trojan priest Laocoön and his sons were killed by two large snakes. The goddess Athena wanted to punish him with death for having warned the Trojans against accepting the gift the Greek, the Wooden Horse of Troy.

The Hellenistic marble group of this subject achieved fame after its excavation in Rome in 1506. Even in ancient times the Laocoön was considered to be an "exemplum doloris", a model representation of suffering. In the seventeenth century, the Church recommended that artists use the figure of Laocoön in their depictions of Christ. The ancient bronze reduction was probably also an interpretation of the fragmented original. A characteristic feature of the Liechtenstein group is the narrow base, above which the figures seem to thrust more strongly away from each other, thus enhancing the work’s inner tension. The chasing with a red-gold patina gives the surface a rare refinement.
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Giovanni Francesco Susini
Laocoön, 1625/1650
Bronze, dark red-gold lacquer patina
height 54 cm, width 44 cm, depth 21 cm
Inv.-No. SK526
Provenance: listed in Prince Karl Eusebius von Liechtenstein’s Quardaroba inventory of 1658
Further works on display
Hercules and a Centaur, c. 1625/1650
Hercules and Antaeus, c. 1625/1650
David with the Head of Goliath, 1625/1630
The Farnese Bull, 1625/1650
Kneeling Woman Bathing, 1625/1650
Venus Chastising Cupid, 1638
Venus Burning Cupid’s Arrows, 1638
Striding Horse, c. 1650
Striding Bull, c. 1650
The Saccomazzone Players, 1625/1650
Related themes
Bronzes from the Collections of the Prince von und zu Liechtenstein
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