Ferdinando de' Medici, Grand Prince of Tuscany
Giovanni Battista Foggini Italian
These meltingly carved busts of father (1993.332.1) and son are surely the finest examples of the portrait style of G. B. Foggini, the leading sculptor of the Florentine Baroque. While strong echoes of Bernini date the creation of the pair to shortly after the younger artist's return from Rome, they already exhibit Foggini's talent for the depiction of material opulence that earned him the post of Medici court sculptor. Dynamic contrasts abound: the fragile lace cravats and lavish mantles (emulating modes of the contemporary French court) set off the realistically depicted faces. They in turn provide their own study in contrasts: the commanding pose and classic Habsburg physiognomy of the balding father serve as counterpoint to the sweet, somewhat unformed face of the youth, overwhelmed by a delirious cascade of curls. Foggini's artistic genius inaugurated the final flourish of Medici patronage. These busts, modeled from life, were followed by a series portraying other family members, all intended to promote the political aspirations of the fading dynasty. Their acquisition served to link our major series of Roman Baroque portrait busts to a growing collection of stunning small-scale Florentine sculptures of that period.
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