Monday, August 20, 2007
French sculptor known also as Giovanni da Bologna. He was born at Douai in 1524. His early training as a sculptor was conducted at Antwerp, but at the age of twenty-five he went to Italy and he settled in 1553 in Florence, where his best works still remain. His two most celebrated productions are the single bronze figure of Mercury, poised on one foot, resting on the head of a zephyr, as if in the act of springing into the air (in the Bargello gallery), and the marble group known as the Rape of the Sabines, which was executed for Francesco de' Medici and received this name, Lanzi informs us, after it was finished. It is now in the Loggia de Lanzi of the ducal piazza. Giovanni was also employed at Genoa, where he executed various excellent works,chiefly in bronze.
Most of his pieces are characterized by great spirit and elegance. His great fountain at Bologna (1563 - 1567) is remarkable for beauty of proportion. Noteworthy also are his two fountains in the Boboli gardens, one completed in 1576 and the other in 1585. He also cast the fine bronze equestrian statue of Cosimo de' Medici at Florence and the very richly decorated west door of Pisa cathedral. One of Bologna's best works, a group of two nude figures fighting, is now lost. A fine copy in lead was at one time in the front quadrangle of Brasenose College, Oxford. In 1881 it was sold for old lead by the principal and fellows of the college, and was melted down by the plumber who bought it. See La Vie et l'ceuvre de Jean Bologne, par Abel Des jardins, d'apres les manuscrits - recueillis par Foucques de Vagnonville (1883, numerous illustrations; list of works). [Adapted from Encyclopedia Britannica (1911)]
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