The Medici lions are two lion sculptures placed around 1600 at the Villa Medici, Rome, Italy, and since 1789 displayed at the Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence. The sculptures depict standing male lions with a sphere under one paw, looking to the side. The Medici lions have also been copied, or strongly inspired new sculptures, in many other locations.
The lions were commissioned by Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, who had acquired the Villa Medici in 1576, to serve as majestic ornaments for the villa's garden staircase, the Loggia dei leoni. The first lion originates from a 2nd century (BC) marble relief which was reworked by Giovanni di Scherano Fancelli in 1598.
The second was made, also in marble, as a pendant to the ancient sculpture between 1594 and 1598 or between 1570 and 1590 by Flaminio Vacca. The pendant was made from a capital from the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus.
The Villa Medici was passed to the house of Lorraine in 1737, and in 1787 the lions were moved to Florence, and since 1789 they flank the steps to the Loggia dei Lanzi at the Piazza della Signoria.
The original Medici lions at the Villa Medici (Giovanni Francesco Venturini 1691)
Medici Lion by Augustin Pajou at the Villa Medici
- A smaller bronze left-looking sculpture attributed to Italian sculptor Pietro da Barga and the same period.
- Sculpture in bronze in the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts building, Stockholm (before 1735?).
- Copies at the Villa Medici (1803).
- Versions in Saint Petersburg, Russia include:
- The Lion Cascade in bronze at Peterhof Palace (1799–1801).
- Sculptures in marble at the Lobanov-Rostovsky Residence (constructed 1817-1820).
- Sculptures in bronze at the staircase of the old Mikhailovsky Palace (constructed 1819-1825).
- Sculptures at the entrance of Yelagin Palace (completed 1822).
- The Lions at the Dvortsovaya pier in bronze at the Admiralty embankment (1832).
- Four miniature versions surrounding the Akademie- or Löwenbrunnen in the palace garden (1807–1811), Stuttgart.
- Two gilded versions as part of the Lion Fountain in front of Glienicke Palace (1824–1826), Berlin.
- Two artificial stone versions are found in the garden of the Osborne House (1845–1851), Isle of Wight.
- Six pairs of marble lion sculptures at the Voronstov Palace, Ukraine (installed in 1848).
- The Florentine Lions in bronze in the Fairmount Park, Philadelphia (cast in 1849, installed 1887).
- Parolan Leijona (Finnish for The Lion of Parola) on a four meter high pedestal in Hattula. Erected in 1868 to commemorate the 1863 visit by Alexander II of Russia.
- The pair of lions on the western end of the eponymous Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine, Florida (constructed 1925-1927, rebuilt 2011-2012).
- Sculptures in bronze at the Stanley Park, Blackpool (opened 1926).
- The Swedish lion in bronze in Narva, Estonia. A version of one of the Slottslejonen was first erected in 1936 but lost during the German occupation. A sized-down copy was re-erected in 2000.
- Sculpture in limestone at the Museum of Outdoor Arts, Colorado (founded 1981).
- Sculpture in bronze in Nacka, Stockholm (1996).
- Several sculptures at the Terrasse des Orangers in Parc de Saint-Cloud, Hauts-de-Seine, Paris (of unknown origin).
- Statues at the entrance of Schloss Monrepos, Ludwigsburg (of unknown origin).
- Statues at Pétervására, Hungary (of unknown origin).
Close imitations 
- Slottslejonen (Swedish for The Palace Lions) in bronze, by Bernard Foucquet at the Royal Palace, Stockholm (1700–1704).
- Lion of Waterloo in iron, by Jean-François Van Geel in Waterloo (1826).
See also 
- Giovanna Giusti Galardi: The Statues of the Loggia Della Signoria in Florence: Masterpieces Restored, Florence 2002. ISBN 8809026209
- Augustin Pajou: royal sculptor, 1730-1809
- answers.com on Pietro da Barga
- ru:Львы Дворцовой пристани
- The Gardens of English Heritage, by Linden Groves, Gillian Mawrey, page 102
- waymarking.com; si.edu
- Translated from Swedish Wikipedia.
- http://www.jarlaberg.se/konst_NackaStrand.php, http://infobank.nacka.se/ext/kultur/nackas_historia/nacka_genom_tiderna/Konst/mueller.html
- At least three visible in File:Parc Saint-Cloud2.jpg.
- commons:Category:Medici lions at the Château de Saint-Cloud, larva-e.de
- Documented on this image at Wikimedia Commons.
- commons:Category:Statues of lions in Pétervására
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Medici lions|
- Michel Hochmann: Villa Medici, il sogno di un Cardinale – Collezioni e artisti di Ferdinando de’ Medici, De Luca, 1999, p. 208–11, nos. 37–40, illus. pp. 209–11
- Roberto Manescalchi Il Marzocco / The lion of Florence. In collaborazione con Maria Carchio, Alessandro del Meglio, English summary by Gianna Crescioli. Grafica European Center of Fine Arts e Assessorato allo sport e tempo libero, Valorizzazioni tradizioni fiorentine, Toponomastica, Relazioni internazionale e gemellaggi del comune di Firenze, novembre, 2005.