Veiled Vestal by Raffaelle Monti

Chatsworth is a “stately manor” in Derbyshire, in the Midlands of England.  The term does the place absolutely no justice.  It’s breathtaking.  During our visit, we came upon a bust created by Italian sculptor Raffaelle Monti in 1849.

You know the phrase “doing a double-take”?  Well, I really did.  I walked past, glancing at her, then stopped dead in my tracks, turned and looked again, this time in real disbelief.   The solid marble bust conveys the illusion of a translucent fabric veil.   I’m told this was Monti’s specialty.  He was much copied, but this is the first and only example I’ve ever seen of his technique.  The illusion is just as strong in person as in the photograph.

The shot was hand-held, taken in relatively low light, with a small, inexpensive travel camera (actually, an early Canon PowerShot).  But you still get the idea!

Veiled Vestal by Rafaelle Monti marble sculpture at Chatsworth. Photo by Steve Rossman

This entry was posted in Art objects, Sculpture, Travel Photography. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Veiled Vestal by Raffaelle Monti

  1. Helen Cooper says:

    It boggles the mind! Breathtaking beautiful! I would have loved being there to watch as he created this masterpiece. It would be difficult for me to walk past without stopping to stare at the sheer beauty of the veil. Forgive the pun. 🙂

  2. She is just beautiful!

  3. Judith Moore says:

    Admiring her exquisite beauty is like having a spiritual experience. I am in awe! Even with your little Canon PowerShot you did her justice, Steve. I am so moved that I will search out more of Raffaelle Monti’s work. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. John E. Faulkner says:


  5. Jan says:

    Love the veiled vestal – incredible to comprehend how the truly gifted can achieve this in marble. Saw some of his work at the Victoria and Albert Museum. You can find more (including additional veiled pieces) online (wikimedia has a few). My PowerShot does capture pictures like this (so, must be the user) :-). Thanks Steve.
    P.S. Congratulations and have fun at MCWC — as you know, I will be with Jonna in Idyllwild so will miss it!

    • Jan says:

      whoops, that was does “not” capture pictures like this.

      • steverossman says:

        You’re so funny. Would it make you happier if I told you that a team of skilled photoshop surgeons labored over this poor little image for months, rendering it almost unrecognizable?? It wouldn’t be true, but it might make you feel better..

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