The statue is contained in an apsidal chamber in the centre of the Gemina Hall, which spectacularly delineates the visual background of the Loggia of the Tombs. The full-scale monumental sculpture of the illustrious botanist Giovanni Contri (1788 - 1860) is by Salvino Salvini (1824 - 1899) of Leghorn, with technical collaboration by the Davide Venturi & Figlio marble workers company of Bologna. Appointed the head of the sculpture faculty of the Bologna Academy of Fine Arts in 1861 to help renew the local art scene, Salvini stayed there until 1893. He received many commissions for Certosa, gradually moving away from the purist classicism learnt from Master Pietro Tenerani to the prevalent Verism of the second half of the 19th century, of which this statue is one of the greatest achievements, including for its colossal dimensions. The scientist is portrayed realistically, sitting on a rich armchair and wearing ceremonial academic dress, displaying a medal that symbolises the many awards received during his life. The tactile qualities of the various fabrics are rendered with great care, from the lace to the fur.
Melissa La Maida