List Price £8,500
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After Giambologna (Italian, 1529-1608)
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These patinated bronze figures depict Mercury, the classical Roman messenger god, and the goddess of luck, Fortuna. Both figures stand on cylindrical stepped yellow marble plinths, which are encircled by bronze panels. These panels are decorated with continuous bas-relief scenes, depicting cherubs sailing ships and consulting globes.
Both figures are pictured in the idealistic nude, adopting animated poses. Fortuna is poised on the tip of a cloud-like, swirling base, while Mercury stands on a gust of wind, issued from the mouth of the god, Zephyrus. Mercury’s heels are winged, to allow the god to fly through the air and deliver messages to the Olympian gods.
In both sculptures, one arm is raised up in the air—Mercury points to the heavens, and Fortuna clasps the stem of her trumpet, which she lifts up to the sky. Each figure bends their other arm to hip level—Mercury holds his staff, the caduceus, in his left hand, and Fortuna uses her lowered right hand to clasp onto the piece of fabric that partially covers her body.
These figures are based on bronze works by the famous Mannerist sculptor, Giambologna (1529-1608). Giambologna’s sculpture of Mercury is especially well-known. It was created in 1580 for Ferdinando de’ Medici. The piece was intended as a sculptural finial for a fountain in the Villa Medici in Rome, but was moved in 1780 to the Uffizi Museum in Florence. The bronzes are signed ‘J. Bologne’ for Jean Boulogne, Giambologna’s birth name.
Mercury: Height 86cm, width 21cm, depth 27cm
Fortuna: Height 81.5cm, width 22cm, depth 20cm
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