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Marble figure by Emilio Fiaschi - 'Testing the waters'


A magnificent 19th century Italian carved marble figure of a young lady wearing a laced bathing suit, stepping down from an old dock to test the temperature of the water with her toes. Raised on its original green marble pedestal.
By Emilio Fiaschi (Italian, 1858-1941)

Titled: Testing The Waters
Signed: Emilio Fiaschi



Total height: 85"  (216 cm)
Total Width: 21"  (53 cm)
Total depth: 22"  (55 cm)

Figure height: 45"  (114 cm)
Figure Width: 18"   (45 cm)
Figure depth: 19"   (48 cm)

Pedestal Height: 40"  (101 cm)
Pedestal width: 21"   (53 cm)
Pedestal depth: 22"   (56 cm)

Seaside vacations grew in popularity in the 1890's. It was only by the late nineteenth century that women no longer camouflaged the contours of their bodies at the beach. Thin and silky free-flowing bathing costumes like this one allowed women to enjoy themselves as they abandoned the formerly weighty and burdensome costumes of previous decades.

The costume's intricately carved lace and bloomers cling to the bather emphasizing her sleek, elegant and pristine nature, which is further echoed in the pure white marble medium. The graceful figure gazes down at the water with an expression of delighted anticipation as she tests the temperature with her toes. 

Small decorative details such as the elaborate ruffles and pattern, and ribbon up the side of the bather's costume are typical of Fiaschi's work.

Emilio Fiaschi (1858 – 1941) was an Italian sculptor. He was presumed to have been from Volterra. From 1883 to 1885, he studied at Academia di Bella Arte di Firenze and spent most of his career in Florence, Italy. He was skilled in sculpting both marble and alabaster and most often produced female nudes, usually smaller than life-size figures. His female nudes featured highly polished skin and emphasized the curves of hips and waistlines