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Three statues of Grotesque figures or Caramogi

Romolo Ferrucci known as Romolo del Tadda (Fiesole, 1544 - Florence, 1621)

17th century (1617 c. - 1621 c.) 
Serena stone
190x80 cm
Boboli nos. 227-229

Around 1617 and 1621, three grotesque figures were commissioned in serena stone, which are attributed to Romolo Ferrucci del Tadda. The statues - located in the walkway of the Boboli Gardens that connects the Lawn of Columns to the entrance of Porta Romana - represent a single group sculpted in serena stone and placed on a raised plinth. The three male figures are Caramogi, an archaic term for deformed characters who, according to ancient sources, were called upon to perform exhibitions at court. They wear 16th-century costumes of German origin, very similar to the costumes of acrobats or characters from the Commedia dell'Arte. Moreover, the figures are portrayed in a deformed manner, assuming constricted positions, and with an unnatural grimace on their face. In 1828, the scholar Francesco Inghirami described the figures as a «company of three jesters or jugglers who were imitators of ancient mimics or jumpers». Romolo Ferrucci, known as del Tadda, worked extensively for the Medici court, producing mostly figures of animals. In this group, the sculptor demonstrated his mastery in working with stone by trying his hand at different subjects. What emerged was a grotesque and caricatured vein, certainly influenced by the engravings of 'zanni' (typical masks of the Commedia dell'arte) made by Frenchman Jacques Callot, who was active at the Medici court from 1612 to 1621. 


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, Firenze, 2003, p. 191; L. M. Medri, Il Giardino di Boboli, Milano, 2003; 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, Livorno, p. 149.

Text by
Elena Marconi, Giuditta Tamburini
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