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Hercules and Cacus, Bandinelli (Right) & Neptune, Ammannati (Left), Piazza della Signoria, Florence

Hercules and Cacus, Bandinelli (Right) & Neptune, Ammannati (Left), Piazza della Signoria, Florence

Amit Banerjee


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Hercules and Cacus, Bandinelli (Right) & Neptune, Ammannati (Left), Piazza della Signoria, Florence

Hercules and Cacus, Bandinelli (Right) & Neptune, Ammannati (Left), Piazza della Signoria, Florence


Piazza della Signoria is an L-shaped square in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. It was named after the Palazzo della Signoria, also called Palazzo Vecchio. It is the focal point of the origin and of the history of the Florentine Republic and still maintains its reputation as the political hub of the city. It is the meeting place of Florentines as well as numerous tourists, located near Ponte Vecchio and Piazza del Duomo and gateway to the Uffizi Gallery.

Hercules and Cacus is the sculpture to the right of the entrance of the Palazzo Vecchio in the Piazza della Signoria. This work by the Florentine artist Baccio Bandinelli (1525–1534) was commissioned as a pendant to David, which had been commissioned by the republican counsel of Florence, under Piero Soderini (gonfaloniere for life), to commemorate the victory over the Medici. The colossus (height: 5.05 m) was originally given to Michelangelo and meant to complement the David but later appropriated by the Medici family as a symbol of their renewed power after their return from exile in 1512, and again in 1530. Although descriptions of its unveiling in 1534 provided verbal and written criticisms of the marble, most were instead aimed at the Medici family for dissolving the Republic and were not aesthetic. A few of the writers of these hypercritical verses were imprisoned by Alessandro de'Medici, further suggesting a political commentary. The two harshest critics were Giorgio Vasari and Benvenuto Cellini, both of whom were champions of Michelangelo and rivals of Bandinelli for Medici patronage. Vasari lamented the change of hands from Michelangelo to Bandinelli, and the change of design. Cellini referred to the emphatic musculature as "a sack full of melons", forgetting that Michelangelo had received similar deprecation previously by Leonardo da Vinci. Neither Vasari, nor Cellini can be viewed as unbiased resources due to their rivalries. The patrons (Medici family) were quite satisfied and rewarded Bandinelli greatly for his efforts with land, money, and he was later placed in charge of all sculptural and architectural programs for the Medici under Cosimo I.

Hercules, who killed the fire-belching monster Cacus during his tenth labor for stealing cattle, is the symbol of physical strength, which juxtaposed nicely with David as a symbol of spiritual strength, both symbols desired by the Medici. This marble group shows the basic theme of the victor (the Medici) and the vanquished (the republicans). The pose suggests the leniency of the Medici to those who would concede to their rule, and served as a warning to those who would not, as this pose can be indefinite or simply temporary. The commission for the Hercules and Cacus, as mentioned, was appropriated by the pope Clement VII (Giulio de'Medici), some time during or before 1523. He was shown a wax bozzetto by Bandinelli, who received the commission.

Fountain of Neptune is situated in the Piazza della Signoria in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. The fountain was commissioned in 1565 and is the work of the sculptor Bartolomeo Ammannati. This work by Ammannati (1563–1565) and some assistants, such as Giambologna, was commissioned on the occasion of the wedding of Francesco I de'Medici with Johanna of Austria in 1565. The assignment had first been given to Baccio Bandinelli, who designed the model but he died before he could start working on the block of Apuan marble. The Neptune figure, whose face resembles that of Cosimo I de'Medici, was meant to be an allusion to the dominion of the Florentines over the sea. The figure stands on a high pedestal in the middle of an octagonal fountain. The pedestal in the middle is decorated with the mythical chained figures of Scylla and Charybdis. The statue of Neptune is a copy made in the nineteenth century, while the original is in the National Museum. When this work was finished, it was not appreciated in particular by the Florentines, who called it Il Biancone (the white giant).



Perseus With the Head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini, 1554

Perseus With the Head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini, 1554, Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence
Perseus With the Head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini, 1554, Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence
Amit Banerjee





http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piazza_della_Signoria



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hercules_and_Cacus



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fountain_of_Neptune,_Florence

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