Gioco del Saccomazzone
Romolo Ferrucci known as Romolo del Tadda (Fiesole 1544 - Florence,1621); Orazio Mochi(Florence 1571 - 1625)
In 1620 Cosimo II commissioned several genre sculptures for the Boboli Gardens, including the Gioco del Saccomazzone, a typically Tuscan pastime, which can be defined as a variant of "blind man's buff". We are in the realm of rural and rustic games in perfect harmony with the bucolic context of the Boboli Gardens, and with the theatrical scenes of its most intimate locations.
The sculpture vividly illustrates this ancient Florentine game, which represents the fight between two contenders, both blindfolded, one of whom had to hit the other with a knotted cloth - although the boy on the left has lost his - without detaching the hand from a set point usually consisting of a rock. The conception of the sculptural group belongs to Orazio Mochi, who, according to what Filippo Baldinucci reports, sketched the work in wax first, and then in full size, presumably around 1614-1615, obtaining a disappointing result, however. Baldinucci also recalls a bronze statuette by the same author, copies of which still exist, depicting two peasants caught in the moment of the Gioco del Saccomazzone which instead achieved great success, so much so that the sculptor created various versions in bronze, wax and plaster. Giulio Parigi, the architect who supervised the rearrangement of the Boboli Gardens, requested a life-size stone replica to adorn the Medici park. However, Mochi, remembered in the sources for his skill as a modeller, was not equally esteemed as a sculptor, which is why the execution of the assembly was entrusted to Romolo Ferrucci known as del Tadda. The presence of the Gioco del Saccomazzone, located at the end of the Viottolone in the space in front of the island, has been recorded since 1622 and acts as a counterpart to the sculptural group depicting the Gioco della Pentolaccia.
F. Gurrieri, J. Chatfield, Boboli Gardens, Edam 1971, p. 53;.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;L. M. Medri, Il Giardino di Boboli, Silvana 2003;G. Capecchi, Cosimo II e le arti di Boboli, Olschki 2008, p. 29-30.