Medici bronze sculpture at Palazzo Pitti

Over 170 artworks on display for the first time

Editorial Staff
September 23, 2019 - 12:27

Running until January 12, 2020, Forged in Fire. Bronze Sculpture in Florence Under the Last Medici is dedicated to 17th- and 18th-century Baroque sculpture made under the patronage of the powerful Florentine dynasty. The exhibition in the Treasury of the Grand Dukes, in Palazzo Pitti, vaunts over 170 artworks on loan from prestigious institutions such as the Vatican Museums, the Louvre, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the Getty in Los Angeles, the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Frick Collection in New York, among others.



Curated by the director of the Uffizi Galleries, Eike Schmidt, Sandro Bellesi and Riccardo Gennaioli, the show offers for the first time a complete overview of bronze sculpture in the Tuscan capital, beginning with a small collection of pieces by Giambologna, the court artist appointed under Francesco I and to whom we can trace the beginnings of Florence’s role as a prolific centre of Baroque bronze production. The exhibition features the Flemmish artist’s Bathing Venus, normally held in a private collection and never before placed on display in this capacity, and the recently restored St. John. The show also includes the incredible return of eleven of the twelve sculptures that were once housed in the apartments of the Electress Palatine Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici; the sculptures were dispersed to various collections and museums, and are now brought back together for the first time since they were bequeathed by the last Medici heir.


“It is an extraordinary pleasure,” said Schmidt, “to be able to explore for the first time this chapter of art history in Florence and Europe, that from the late 16th century onwards was crucial for the magnificence of the Medici court. As diplomatic gifts, bronze sculptures defined the success of the Florentine style on the international stage; they also presented an opportunity, within a wider socio-economic network, for exchanges between artists and artisans, artworks and ideas and technical know-how.”

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