Medici lions

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This article is about the sculptures of lions with spheres. For the heraldic symbol of Florence, see Marzocco.
Fancelli's ancient lion
Vacca's lion

The Medici lions are a pair of marble sculptures of lions, one of which is of ancient origin, the other a 16th-century pendant; both were by 1598[1] placed at the Villa Medici, Rome, and since 1789 have been displayed at the Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence. The sculptures depict standing male lions with a sphere or ball under one paw, looking to the side. The Medici lions have been copied, directly or with variations, in many other locations.

History[edit]

A pair of lions were required 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[2] marble that was first mentioned in 1594, by the sculptor Flaminio Vacca,[3] by which time it was already in the collection of Ferdinando;[4] Vacca reported that it had been found in the via Prenestina, outside Porta San Lorenzo. According to Vacca, the lion had been a relief, which was carved free of its background and reworked by "Giovanni Sciarano" or Giovanni di Scherano Fancelli, of whom little is now known.[5]

The second was made and signed[6] by Vacca, also in marble, as a pendant to the ancient sculpture at a date variously reported as between 1594 and 1598[2] or between 1570 and 1590.[7][8] The pair were in place at the Loggia dei Leoni in 1598[1] The pendant was made from a capital that had come from the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus.[8]

The Villa Medici was inherited by the house of Lorraine in 1737, and in 1787[2][9][10] the lions were moved to Florence, and since 1789[9] they flank the steps to the Loggia dei Lanzi at the Piazza della Signoria.

The sculptures were replaced by copies at the Villa Medici when Napoleon relocated the French Academy in Rome to the villa in 1803.[11] These copies were made by the French sculptor Augustin Pajou.[10]

Copies[edit]

Study of one of the Medici Lions by Giuseppe Bernardino Bison (1762–1844)

The original Medici lions (1598) are since 1789 standing at the Loggia dei Lanzi, Piazza della Signoria, Florence. There is smaller bronze left-looking sculpture attributed to Italian sculptor Pietro da Barga[12] and the same period.[7] Later copies or replicas include (ordered by first year):

Spain[edit]

Sweden[edit]

Britain[edit]

  • Sculptures in lead at Stowe House attributed to John Cheere (around 1755–779). Formerly placed at Stanley Park, Blackpool (1927–2013).[20][21]
  • Sculpture in the park of Kedleston Hall, carved by Joseph Wilton (around 1760–70).[22][23]
  • Two artificial stone versions are found in the garden of the Osborne House (1845–1851), Isle of Wight.[24]
  • Sculptures at the Stanley Park, Blackpool (2013). These were produced, by Rupert Harris Conservation, using casts from the former sculptures which were returned, on loan, to Stowe house in 2013.[25]
  • Sculptures in bronze at the Queen's Gate entrance to Royal Victoria Park in Bath (1818–1819), renovated in 2007 to include the ball under the paw. Produced around 1818, they were commissioned by Charles Geary Esq, for inclusion in the new Masonic Hall in York Street, Bath, which was opened on 23 September 1819 with great ceremony, by the Grand Master of England, HEH the Duke of Sussex, attended by 800 to 1000 Freemasons in full regalia. ‘The Historic Guide to Bath 1864’ records the event and details "the master's chair stood on a throne of black and white marble, supported by lions, their feet resting on balls." The elaborate building immediately ran into financial trouble and soon closed. In 1842, Geary, having secured the debts and in order to pay them off, sold the hall to the Society of Friends, in whose care it remains, and the elaborate contents (known as ‘The Bath Furniture’) to Loyal Lodge No 251, Barnstable, Devon, where they also remain to this day. The lions, however, did not make the trip, legend suggesting there was no cart available to transport them. They were, therefore, presented to the city and the same ‘The Historic Guide to Bath 1864’ later records "At the side entrances, over the Queen's Gate, leading to the Royal Avenue are Bronzed Lions, presented by Mr. Geary." They were restored in 2007.[citation needed]

Russia and Ukraine[edit]

Versions in Saint Petersburg, Russia include:[26]

Versions in southern Russia and later Ukraine include:

Italy[edit]

Germany[edit]

Cuba[edit]

  • Two versions outside the Cathedral de la Purisma Concepción in Cienfuegos (built 1833–69), Cuba.

United States[edit]

Estonia[edit]

Lithuania[edit]

  • Sculptures of lions are in bronze at the staircase of the Vytautas the Great War Museum in Kaunas, Lithuania. They were donated by Lithuanian count Jonas Julius Tiškevičius (1917–1987) in 1938 from his Astravas Manor in Biržai suburb (decorative sculptures of lions that stood at the entrance to the manor were replaced with copies). Sculptures was made in Saint Petersburg's factory commissioned by Lithuanian count Jonas Tiškevčius in the middle of the 19th century.[36]

France[edit]

Hungary[edit]

Close imitations[edit]

Slottslejonen at the Royal Palace, Stockholm

In popular culture[edit]

Downsized copies of the Medici lions are on display in the garden of the Corleone family estate in The Godfather (1972).

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Haskell and Penny 1981:246.
  2. ^ a b c "Lions of Firenze". clevermag.com. Clever Magazine. 
  3. ^ Vacca 1790
  4. ^ Haskell and Penny 1981:247–50.
  5. ^ "FANCELLI, Giovanni, detto Nanni di Stocco in "Dizionario Biografico"". treccani.it. 
  6. ^ Haskell and Penny 1981:247.
  7. ^ a b "The Medici Lion". tomassobrothers.co.uk. 
  8. ^ a b Giovanna Giusti Galardi: The Statues of the Loggia Della Signoria in Florence: Masterpieces Restored, Florence 2002. ISBN 8809026209
  9. ^ a b borghiditoscana.net
  10. ^ a b Draper, James David; Pajou, Augustin; Scherf, Guilhem; Louvre, Musée du; N.Y.), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York (16 March 1998). "Augustin Pajou: royal sculptor, 1730-1809". Metropolitan Museum of Art – via Google Books. 
  11. ^ a b "Rome Off The Beaten Path Tips by von.otter". virtualtourist.com. 
  12. ^ "Answers - The Most Trusted Place for Answering Life's Questions". answers.com. 
  13. ^ a b "León | Patrimonio Nacional". www.patrimonionacional.es. Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  14. ^ "León - Colección - Museo Nacional del Prado". museodelprado.es. 
  15. ^ "JARDÍN DE MONFORTE (L´HORT DE ROMERO)". visitvalencia.com. 
  16. ^ TURESPAÑA (23 April 2007). "Monforte Gardens in Valencia, Spain: Historic gardens in Valencia, Spain - spain.info in english". spain.info. 
  17. ^ http://www.kkh.se/index.php/sv/om-kkh/historik/lejonet-a-svinet
  18. ^ "Konstverk i Nacka Strand". www.jarlaberg.se. Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  19. ^ "Mueller". infobank.nacka.se. Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  20. ^ "Stowe House, Buckinghamshire | Projects | WMF Britain". www.wmf.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  21. ^ "Medici Lions return to Stowe :: Historic Houses Association". www.hha.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  22. ^ "Geograph:: Medicean Lion Statue (C) Trevor Rickard". geograph.org.uk. 
  23. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1109087)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  24. ^ Mawrey, Gillian; Groves, Linden (24 August 2010). "The Gardens of English Heritage". Frances Lincoln – via Google Books. 
  25. ^ "The Stowe Lions". World Monuments Fund – Britain. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  26. ^ "Львы Дворцовой пристани". Википедия (in Russian). 2016-09-12. 
  27. ^ "Saint Petersburg encyclopaedia". www.encspb.ru. Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  28. ^ http://www.leospb.ru/en/leo.php?id=42
  29. ^ "Ошибка на странице". encspb.ru. 
  30. ^ Commons:File:Starosinnyi Garden.JPG
  31. ^ File:Schloss Monrepos Detail3.jpg[better source needed]
  32. ^ "Florentine Lions - Philadelphia, PA - Lion Statues on Waymarking.com". waymarking.com. 
  33. ^ "History of McMicken College, University of Cincinnati". 2013-07-17. Archived from the original on 2013-07-17. Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  34. ^ "Lions Restored To St. Augustine Bridge - Jacksonville News Story - WJXT Jacksonville". 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  35. ^ "Lion's Den Museum Of Outdoors Arts". 2008-09-26. Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  36. ^ "Vytauto Didžiojo karo muziejaus sargai sugrįžo". 15min.lt. Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  37. ^ At least three visible in File:Parc Saint-Cloud2.jpg.
  38. ^ commons:Category:Medici lions at the Château de Saint-Cloud, larva-e.de
  39. ^ commons:Category:Statues of lions in Pétervására[better source needed]
  40. ^ "Patrimonio Históríco-Artístico. Documental y Bibliográfico.". congreso.es. 
  41. ^ STT. "Parolan leijona trimmataan kuntoon". savonsanomat.fi. 

References[edit]

  • Flaminio Vacca, di varie antichità trovate in diversi luoghi della città di Roma, not published until 1790 (noted by Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, Taste and the Antique: the lure of classical sculpture, 1500–1900 1981).
  • 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.


Coordinates: 43°46′9.13″N 11°15′20.37″E / 43.7692028°N 11.2556583°E / 43.7692028; 11.2556583