City officals outraged by the unannounced removal of the Bacco di Giambologna for restoration

Editorial Staff
May 12, 2005

The statue had been temporarily relocated to the Bargello Museum for minor restoration work in preparation for an exhibition scheduled for next year of artist Giambologna’s works, an exhibit of which the statue will be a part.


For unknown reasons, the City was not informed of plans for the statue’s removal. Now, there is an empty space where a landmark once stood, and officials are still furious over this one-sided decision. Although the statue belongs to The Uffizi and not to the City, it has become one of Florence’s recognisable monuments, and its removal makes the statue, once accessible as part of the city’s heritage, unavailable to tourists and citizens alike.


Giambologna, or Jean de Boulogne, was a Flemish artist who, under the tutelage of Francesco dei Medici, played an important role in the creation of Florence’s artistic patrimony. Although Giambologna’s designs for the monumental fountain in Piazza della Signoria were not used, his statue of Cosimo I, also in Piazza Signoria, is an exemplary work in the mannerist style. Various other of his statues adorn the most important parks and villa gardens of Florence.


The statue of Bacchus is one of Giambologna’s earlier works and dates back to 1560. It has ornamented the fountain tucked into the wall of the Rossi Cerchi tower at the intersection of Borgo San Iacopo and the Ponte Vecchio since 1838.


The City of Florence has recently undertaken a new management plan for the historical centre of the city in order to preserve and maintain what UNESCO has deemed a heritage of humanity. With the sponsorship of the Ministry of Culture, a new offi ce has been opened specifi cally to study all eventual preservation and maintenance plans for the city.


When the Museum Pole, a body supervising the majority of Florentine museums, removed the Bacchus statue last week without any prior notification of its intentions, city offi cials were quick to reprimand the organisation. Officials strongly believe that the successful preservation of the city’s property necessitates total collaboration and dialogue between all sectors. However, the Superintendent of Florence’s Museum Pole was quick to offer his apologies in response to raised objections, thus placating a potentially volatile debate.


The statue will now be replaced with a replica.

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