By Martina Bollini 

Pietro Tacca was born on 6 September 1577 in Carrara. The chief pupil of Giambologna, he worked for the Medici Grandukes of Tuscany as court sculptor. To celebrate Ferdinand I’s triumphant victory against the Barbary corsairs, Tacca made the monument of Four Moors in chains for the port city of Livorno. The group was placed at the foot of Giovanni Bandini’s marble portrait of the Duke.

Tacca’s sculptures also decorate two iconic public spaces in Florence: piazza Santissima Annunziata and the Loggia of the Mercato Nuovo (although here the original statue of the Porcellino has been replaced with a copy).

His service for the Medici included the execution of the tombs of Ferdinando I and Cosimo II. The cenotaphs are located in the Cappella dei Principi in the church of San Lorenzo, traditional burial place of the Florentine family.

Tacca worked for other European monarchs too, creating equestrian monuments such as the colossal statue of Philip IV of Spain, his last major project (1634-40). The statue, originally designed for the garden of the Buen Retiro Palace in Madrid, is now dominating the Plaza de Oriente.

Four Moors, 1623-26, bronze, Piazza Micheli, Livorno.

Fountain, ca. 1629, bronze, Piazza Santissima Annunziata, Florence.

Il Porcellino, 1621-34, bronze, Museo Bardini, Florence.

Detail from the Monument to Ferdinando I de Medici, 1626-1632, Cappella dei Principi, Basilica di San Lorenzo, Florence. Photo Credit: The Courtauld Gallery 

Equestrian monument to Philip IV, 1634-40, bronze, Plaza de Oriente, Madrid.

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