Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sea Monsters

Sea monster by Pietro Tacca, copy, LivornoThe monument to Ferdinando I and the Four Moors was finished in 1626 and had to be completed with two fountains representing sea monsters, modeled by the same sculptor of the moors, Pietro Tacca from Carrara, a disciple of Giambologna. Legend says that the Grand Duke Ferdinando II liked so much the two bronze fountains that he wanted them in “Piazza Santissima Annunziata”, in Florence. So the beautiful fountains ended up near another monument to Ferdinando I, by the same Pietro Tacca, already in the square since 1608. In the 1950s Giorgio La Pira, mayor of Florence, had a copy of one the fountains cast as a present for the city of Livorno. A few years later, Livorno paid for another copy. At last, in the 1960s, the fountains were placed in Piazza Colonnella, not far from the intended location near the Four Moors.Fountain with sea monster by Pietro Tacca, FlorenceOne of the Florentine fountains, in background the “Ospedale degli Innocenti” (Foundling Hospital), by Filippo Brunelleschi.Fountain with sea monster by Pietro Tacca, copy, LivornoOne of the copies in Livorno, no Brunelleschi in background...Fountain with sea monster by Pietro Tacca, FlorenceThe other Florentine fountain, in background the “Basilica della Santissima Annunziata” (Basilica of the Most Holy Annunciation).
Fountain with sea monster by Pietro Tacca, copy, LivornoThe other copy with a genuine “Livornese” background...

29 comments:

Per Stromsjo said...

So, with a bit of patience things do end up in their rightful location.

In Three Rivers, Michigan said...

Oh that is funny, and only 300 plus years later! I like seeing the original originals portrayed with the Livorno ones. Thanks for the story.

Three Rivers Daily Photo

Jacob said...

What a great story! Do you, by any chance, teach Italian history? If not, how do you come by such knowledge?

Maybe Trillian told you? ;-)

Anyway, I'm impressed again, as usual!

These fountains I really like because of their weirdness and their ornateness, and how they represent the kinds of things people believed before science helped them understand the world.

Kaori said...

So many sea monsters! Wonderful history :)

Luis Gomez said...

Wonderful story and images. Love the fountains.

Julie said...

A wonderfully ornate fountain that is so well visually balanced. I love the story of "green eyes"

Wolynski said...

Hate to point it out, but these fountains are really ugly, but not without their charm. Love the pink of the houses.

joo said...

I undertand pretty well why he liked the fountains so much!
The first photo is terrific and as usually great story:)

Babzy said...

Very interesting post , the sculpture is great !

miladawley said...

good things..................................................

Hilda said...

Spitting sea monsters… oookay. I feel like they belong in a fantasy story somewhere.

Your last caption got me chuckling again.

Birdman said...

Love these images. Legends say so much about places we live. Thanks for sharing this one... and the fountain.

Tinsie said...

That statue sure has a scary face!

Cezar and Léia said...

This post is very informative, well done my friend and the first shot is wonderful!
It's a beautiful fountain!
Léia

B SQUARED said...

I wish our city had more fountains. Their beauty adds so much to an area.

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Beautiful post and lovely shots !! Nice post !! Thanks for sharing..Unseen Rajasthan

Halcyon said...

Very interesting fountain. I like the close-up in the first photo. It looks like the monster tried something bad and is spitting it out!

James said...

That's great! What a cool looking fountain. :) It's amazing that it's so old. I like it.

JM said...

The fountains are fantastic and the buildings surrounding them too! Same for the photos!

Gunn White said...

Nice fountains, and beautiful color on the building (first photo). You are lucky to be surrounded with so much art in Italy!:-)

For info:
Unfortunately, the gingerbread houses on display in Stavanger, simply end up as food waste the first week in January!!
This is because the houses have been out on display to the public and open to dust and people coughing etc.. A little sad, but understandable.

Ilse said...

Very interesting post. Such a wealth odf history. & the sea monsters are positively gorgeous!

cieldequimper said...

These fountains are magnificent, and I had to laugh about the "genuine Livornese background"!

Mo said...

So I wonder what Belisconi will leave as his legacy. Perhaps a toothless monster?

tapirgal said...

The background comment was very funn. Interesting post, as always.

Andreea said...

Interesting story, I had fun reading it. I like the statues, despite their intended ugliness they posses a certain beauty. These monsters don't scare me :)

Stine in Ontario said...

I guess Italian artists have had vivid imaginations for many centuries. :)

ak said...

That is really very funny! It is so odd to see the versions in Livorno as I pass by the Florentine ones every morning in piazza ss.ma Annunziata. I have always loved the concept of these fountains that contain all the ingredients for Cacciucco - for some reason I think that is hilarious.
By the way, i've been following your blog on my RSS reader. Are you also on twitter? I'm @TuscanyArt and would love to keep in touch.
Ciao from Firenze! Alexandra

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Some pretty fancy sculpture! Yeah, how DO you know so MUCH about art!!

Tash said...

Most unusual monument, factinating history, and WONDERFUL post of the collection!