martedì 8 gennaio 2013

Il Porcellino

The Porcellino under the Loggia del Mercato Nuovo
Here is the Porcellino, with its shiny nose, by the fifteen hundred loggia del Mercato Nuovo, just a block behind Piazza della Signoria and Piazza della Repubblica. Actually it should represent a wild boar rather than a piglet (as "porcellino" means) but the statue is famous amongst tourists as well as amongst Florentines: a legend says hat if you put a coin in its jaws and this falls into the underlying grating of the basin, this will bring you good luck.

That's why crowds of tourists stand around the statue at every time of the year making photos and touching the statue's nose as a promise to be back in Florence soon.

The original ellenistic sculpture in marble (mid 3rd century B.C.) was given by the Pope Pio IV as a gift to Cosimo I around 1560, as a homage to the Medici's passion for hunting and now this is kept in the Uffizi Gallery. Cosimo ordered to make a copy in bronze to the famous sculptor Pietro Tacca, Giambologna's apprentice, who will gain the place of Granduke's favourite sculptor after his master's death. The model in wax was realized in 1620, while the bronze final sculpture was finished in 1633. Here Pietro Tacca even surpassed the classics in his creation.
Detail of the base of the sculpture
The wild boar raises on its front legs, with its shaggy fur bristling, upon hearing the footsteps of
hunters. The base on which the animal rests is in the form of a piece of an uncoltivated ground, with grass , bushes, plants and small animals as lizards, frogs, snails, river crabs, a grass snake... The naturalistic details show Giambologna's influence on Pietro Tacca.
The water that gushed from the animal's jaws was then collected  in a basin in front of the base.

The fountain was coinceived as a urban furnishing and was initially placed in the Boboli gardens. In
1639 this was moved in  Piazza del Mercato Nuovo. The base was deteriorated by the time and the people and was thus moved in the Museum of San Marco, while the statue was replaced by a copy in 1998 and the original in bronze is now kept in he Bardini museum.

One of the two fountains in P.zza SS Annunziata by P.Tacca

The equestrian statue of Ferdinando I in P.SS. Annunziata - 1608 

Pietro Tacca other famous bronze works are the equestrian statue of the Granduke Ferdinando I (begun by Giambologna and finished by P.Tacca) in Piazza SS Annunziata and the two fountains in the same square, where he also showed a great talent in representing animals and monsters of the sea.

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