Do you think to know everything about Florence? Think again: some dragons are around, a Florence secret which reminds us of J.R.R. Tolkien’s stories and “British” saints…
Florence secrets: the Foggini’s dragon
Giovanni Battista Foggini (1652 – 1725) was a Florentine sculptor.
He worked mainly for the Medici’s family and he was specialized in bronze statues.
He is an exponent of the Italian Baroque sculpture, but one of his works is…
Well: something completely different: the Foggini’s Dragon.
The Medici Family has been the most important for centuries in Florence.
The Medicis commisioned many villas in the countryside.
One of them, the Villa Medicea di Pratolino (now Villa Demidoff, as the russian Demidoff family bought it in the XIX Century) has a beautiful park with huge statues, artificial caves, fountains.
Probably the most famous statue in the Park is the Giambologna’s Appennino – The Apennine Colossus.
Foggini added to the Colossus (which – in a very modern way – is more an “installation” than just a statue) a dragon.
The design of the dragon is definitely modern, and it is kind of weird to have a mountain (The Apennine Mountains are a mountain range) and a dragon just like Smaug and the Lonely Mountain, but in Tuscany, not in Middle Earth!
The Parnassus Garden’s Dragon (or snake..?)
The Giardino dell’Orticultura / Orti del Parnaso (Parnassus’ Gardens) was founded by the Tuscany Horticulture Society and another huge reptile is around: the fountain of Python, the earth-dragon of Delphi, killed by Apollo on Mount Parnassus.
A Renaissance Dragon: Donatello
Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi, or Donatello (1386? – 1466) is… well: a hell of a sculptor.
Probably the most revolutionary of the Renaissance.
In1417 he completed the Saint George statue for the Arte dei Corazzai e Spadai (the Guild of Sword Cuirass-makers). Again, what absolutely strucks is the modernity and freshness of the statue, with its shield, cloak, armor.
You don’t have a Saint George without his dragon, and here it is: the panel of the statue’s base with his schiacciato (a very low bas-relief) shows the fight between Saint George and the Dragon.
This artwork has an invaluable importance, as in the scene of the fight Donatello applies the Linear Perspective to sculpture: so much better than a 3D printer…
Florence secrets: here are dragons – credits
Drago del Foggini photo: By Sailko (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
La fontana del Serpente negli Orti del Parnaso photo: By Sailko – Opera propria, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1030248
Saint George and Dragon: by Sailko, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6304943