Monday, February 18, 2013

Four Horses

Luckily none of these statues is in Livorno, or they would have already fallen to pieces, but most of them had something to do with our city. In 1587 Ferdinando I de' Medici commissioned to the sculptor Giambologna an equestrian statue of his father, Cosimo I de' Medici, the first Gran Duke of Tuscany.
Equestrian statue of Cosimo I de' Medici by Giambologna, Piazza della Signoria, Florence
The large bronze statue (1598), now in Piazza della Signoria, was the first equestrian sculpture in Florence. After the Romans, no surviving monumental equestrian bronze was cast in Europe until Donatello's statue of Gattamelata (1450) in Padua and Verrocchio's statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni (1488) in Venice.
Equestrian statue of Ferdinando I de' Medici by Pietro Tacca, Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, Florence
The statue was such a success that Giambologna received other commissions for similar sculptures: the first was from Ferdinando I de' Medici himself and the result was the impressive monument in Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, in Florence. The work, after the death of the sculptor in 1608, was completed by his assistant and disciple Pietro Tacca, the author of Livorno's Four Moors.
Equestrian statue of King Henry IV of France by François-Frédéric Lemot, Pont Neuf, Paris
Pietro Tacca also completed the monument to Henry IV of France (1613), commissioned by his widow Maria de' Medici. The sculpture had not an easy life: like its commissioner the statue sailed to France from Livorno, but it was temporarily lost at sea in a shipwreck. After being salvaged it reached Paris and was placed on the Pont Neuf, but it was destroyed during the French Revolution. It was replaced only in 1818 with a copy by the sculptor François-Frédéric Lemot obtained from a surviving cast of the original.
[Picture from Wikipedia]
The last of the Giambologna's commissions, the statue Philip III in Madrid, was a present from the Grand Duke of Tuscany to the King of Spain. This work was also completed by Tacca (1616) and shipped by sea from Livorno. Originally placed in the Casa de Campo, in 1848 the monument was moved to its actual location in Plaza Mayor.

See also: Four Moors - Sea Monsters - Marie de' Medici
External links: Giambologna - Pietro Tacca - Cosimo I de' Medici - Ferdinando I de' Medici - Henry IV of France - Philip III of Spain

12 comments:

Luis Gomez said...

Great post VP. Thank you.

Robert Geiss said...

Thank you for the inspiration to search for men on horses over here. Last one is great. Interesting numbers on the entry before. Please have a good new week.

Randy said...

Beautiful sculptures.

cieldequimper said...

They are all absolutely magnificent. I had no clue "le bon roi Henri IV" had been riding for so long...

Cezar and Léia said...

Thanks so much for the information and the wonderful pictures. The sculptures are beautiful artwork and important homage!
Léia

Lois Evensen said...

What a beautiful post. All the horses are wonderful and the last shot also includes a very interesting background.

JM said...

What a great post, VP! I especially like shots #1 and #4. The building at the bottom is fantastic!

LONDONLULU said...

This is so cool, a wonderful photo-series, but I also did not know all this before. Long may they all ride!

Traveling Hawk said...

Amazing sculptures! The culture of your town is well represented in other parts of Italy.

Jack said...

Great post, VP. I appreciate your scholarship.

Laura. M said...

Much horse out there :))
Good series of statues.
a hug.

Dina said...

The world can never have too many horse statues. Thanks for these interesting ones.