Gioco della Pentolaccia
The 'Gioco della Pentolaccia' is the counterpart to the 'Gioco del Saccomazzone', which are both located at the end of the Viottolone in the Boboli Gardens. Here a blindfolded young man tries to hit an earthenware pot placed on the ground, while his amused companion watches him on the right. The sculptor chose to represent in particular the moment when the player fails the shot, arousing the amusement of his companion. This sculptural assembly was ordered by Pietro Leopoldo, who entrusted the commission to Giovanni Battista Capezzuoli who, between 1778 and around 1780, sculpted the Gioco della Pentolaccia, giving it a particular 18th-century, almost Rococo flavour. It is interesting to note the existence of a version of the Gioco della pentolaccia in plaster, probably the preparatory model for the marble, in which the spontaneous vitality of the gestures is accentuated, blocked in transitory poses, emphasising the deliberately caricatural expressions of the characters, of the grotesque. Furthermore, both in the model and in the final version, we note the attention that the sculptor puts into the details, such as the shirts left open to highlight the bare chest, the rumpled jackets with the sleeves rolled up, the short and close-fitting trousers that highlight strong limbs. The set of sculptures, therefore, fits into the playful and popular vein of the sculptures placed along the Boboli avenues, which highlight episodes of everyday life which sometimes have an almost grotesque taste. This tradition finds its precedent in the late Hellenistic sculpture that Capezzuoli enlivens through the knowledge of pastoral subjects and gallant games typical of the painting of Fragonard and Boucher.
F. Gurrieri, J. Chatfield, Boboli Gardens, Edam 1971, p. 54;L. M. Medri, Le statue di genere nel giardino di Boboli, in La Reggia Rivelata, catalogo della mostra (Firenze, 7 dicembre 2003 – 31 maggio 2004), a cura di A. Farà e D. Heikamp, Giunti, Firenze, 2003, p. 191;E. Marconi, Il Fasto e la Ragione, catalogo della mostra (Firenze, 30 maggio – 30 settembre 2009), Giunti, 2009, p. 123;A. Griffo, Buffoni, villani e giocatori. Un itinerario attraverso il Giardino di Boboli, in Buffoni, villani e giocatori alla corte dei Medici, catalogo della mostra (Firenze, Gallerie degli Uffizi, Andito degli Angiolini e Museo del Giardino di Boboli 19 maggio – 11 settembre 2017), a cura di A. Bisceglia, S. Mammana, M. Ceriana, p. 148.