Giambologna and the Tuscan Villa of Il Riposo


According to an eighteenth-century genealogy of the Vecchietti family, the Flemish born artist, Jean Bologne (otherwise known as Giambologna) was housed and patronised by the cinquecento Tuscan senator and ducal advisor, Bernardo Vecchietti. It is thought that Vecchietti persuaded the artist to stay in Florence, rather than returning home to the Netherlands following a period of study in Rome.

Famous for his monumental public sculptures, Giambologna also completed commissions for private individuals, Bernardo Vecchietti included. At Vecchietti’s Tuscan villa, Il Riposo, the remnants of the Grotto della Fata Morgana still remain, although the marble sculpture of Morgan le Fey (a sorceress from Arthurian legend, detailed above) no longer graces the fountain there.

Il Riposo was also home to Bernardo Vecchietti’s collection of modelli (small, preparatory models, usually created for patronal approval prior to the execution of commissions of monumental scale).  Circumstance and chronology however, have since worked towards dispersing the original collection and the facts surrounding exactly how many of Giambologna’s works were present in Vecchietti’s sculpture room are sparse. Nevertheless, there are several extant works attributed to Giambologna, with records of provenance that strongly suggest that they once belonged in the collection at Il Riposo


References: Michael Bury, “Bernardo Vecchietti, Patron of Giambologna.” I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance, Vol. 1 (1985), pp. 13-56+267-273. 

Dimitrios Zicos, “Giambologna’s Land, House and Workshops in Florence.” Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, 46. Bd., H. 2/3 (2002), pp. 357-408.

Raffaello Borghini, Il Riposo di Raffaello Borghini, Florence, 1584. 


Images: Fata Morgana, 16th Century, marble, Private Collection.

Hercules and the Hydra of Lerna, 16th Century, wax, Museo di Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, The Loeser Collection.

The Rape of the Sabines, 1579-80, wax, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Julius Caesar, c.1551, lime wood with walnut socle, Private Collection. 


Posted by Samantha Hughes-Johnson.

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