Description Mercury, the messenger of the gods, is typically depicted as a youth with wings on his hat or feet. This monumental bronze statue, commissioned by Lorenzo Ridolfi in 1549 and completed in 1551, formerly stood at the center of the courtyard of the Palazzo Ridolfi in Florence. The inscription on the base states that the "Florentine friends Zanobi Lastricati and Ciano Compagni made the figure in order to learn." The latter was a perfume-maker employed by the duke of Florence, and, on the basis of an ancient marble sculpture of Mercury, he made a model, which Lastricati then used for casting the bronze. The inscription expresses the idea that the sculptures of antiquity represented an ideal worthy of imitation. The original pedestal was supported by bronze turtles, now in an American private collection.
- The Allure of Bronze. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1995.
- Highlights from the Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998-2001.
- The Legacy of Michelangelo. Palazzo Strozzi, Firenze; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit. 2002-2003.
Provenance Lorenzo di Piero Ridolfi, Palazzo Tornabuoni-Ridolfi, Florence, 1549, by commission; Altemps, Florence, 1571 [mode of acquisition unknown] [with the Palazzo Tornabuoni-Ridolfi]; Cardinal Alessandro de' Medici, Florence [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [with the Palazzo Tornabuoni-Ridolfi]; Corsi family, Florence, 1607 [mode of acquisition unknown] [with the Palazzo Tornabuoni-Ridolfi]; Giovanni Corsi, Florence, prior to 1729 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Corsi family, Villa Corsi Salviati, Sesto, prior to 1879, by inheritance; Sale, Sesto, 1879; Arthur Sambon Collection, Paris, 1880; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1930, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Translation] "Florentine friends Zanobi Lastricati and Ciano Compagni made the figure in order to learn."
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1930
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