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After completing his artistic studies in Antwerp, Giambologna moved to Italy in 1550 to study in Rome and perfect his talent as a sculptor. Giambologna stayed in Italy for the remainder of his career, and developed a distinctive Mannerist style of sculpture that soon won him a prestigious reputation. The result was a commission from Pope Pius IV, for whom Giambologna created the colossal bronze statue of Neptune for the Fountain of Neptune in Bologna. In 1553, Giambologna settled in Florence, where he continued to flourish and produced the majority of his finest works. Indeed, there he was appointed master sculptor to the Florentine Medici court.
Although casts of his works were sent across Europe as gifts, the Medici family never permitted Giambologna to leave Florence, fearing that the Austrian or Spanish royal courts would entice him into permanent employment. Today, Giambologna is recognised as one of the master sculptors of the Italian Renaissance.