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Baccio Bandinelli (Florence 1493 – Florence 1560) and his workshop

1548 - 58
Buontalenti Grotto, facade
181 cm (height)
Boboli no. 2

The sculpture, located in the left niche of the facade in Boboli’s Buontalenti Grotto, is paired with the statue of Ceres on the right, even though the two works were not created with the intent to display them together. In fact, the statue of Ceres had been destined to become the figure of Eve for the group of Progenitors in the choir of Florence Cathedral, whereas the original destination of the statue of Apollo is unknown to this day. The rough draft of the work appears to be the work of Baccio Bandinelli and it was probably completed by his assistant, Giovanni Fancelli, as testified by a number of payments received from Eleonora da Toledo, Cosimo de’ Medici’s wife. The general layout is reminiscent of a recurring model in Bandinelli’s production and the pose is clearly inspired by Michelangelo’s David. In his left hand, Apollo appears to hold the remains of a bow, today considered a fragmented attribute; in his right hand, he holds a bandoleer, to which he would have attached the quiver. In 1560, Giorgio Vasari decided to place the statues of Apollo and Ceres in the lower area of the facade of what was initially a plant nursery: it had been created to supply the garden with water, and then turned into the Buontalenti Grotto to meet the wishes of Francesco I.


Text by
Laura Donati
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