On this day in 1582, Florentine sculptor Bartolomeo Ammanati published a letter addressed to the Accademia di San Luca (artists’ guild) denouncing the public display of nude sculpture, including his own Neptune Fountain in the Piazza della Signoria of Florence (1560-75). His moral compass had been shifted by Counter-Reformation thought and Jesuit influence. Shortly before his death in 1592, the artist wrote another letter to Grand Duke Ferdinand I de’ Medici, Ammanati beseeched him “not to allow the sculpting or painting of nude things.”

Neptune, marble, over life-size, on the Fountain of Neptune, marble and bronze, h. c. 9.o m, c. 1560–75, Piazza della Signoria, Florence; photo credit: Alinari/Art Resource, NY.

Fountain of Juno (lower figures), 1555-63, Marble, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence. Web Gallery of Art.

Reference: Charles Avery. “Ammanati, Bartolomeo.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. Web. .

Further reading: Ambitious Form: Giambologna, Ammanati, and Danti in Florence by Michael W. Cole (2010).

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