Monday, February 10, 2014

Sculpture of the Day: A Bust of Ferdinando de’ Medici, c. 1700

Bust of Ferdinando de' Medici
Giovacchino Fortini
circa 1700
The Lady Lever Art Gallery

Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici of Tuscany, like many of the members of this famous Italian family, was a keen patron of the arts with a particular fondness for sculpture. And, like most of the members of his family, he commissioned many portraits of himself from what he considered the best artists in the region.

He certainly got his money’s worth with this portrait bust created by Giovacchino Fortini. Fortini was celebrated for his remarkable ability to render different textures in his marbles. You’ll notice the contrasting textures of Ferdinando’s wig, his fur collar and the smoothness of his armor. De’ Medici was pleased with the bust, and even more so by the inclusion of his emblem (a lightning bolt through clouds) on the armor and his motto on the base. It reads, ET LUCET ET TERRET ('It casts both light and terror”). A fitting motto, indeed. 

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