Jean de Boulogne, better known by his italianised names of Giovanni da Balogna or Giambologna, was one of the most influential artists during the last quarter of the sixteenth century, his work being sought after by wealthy collectors and royal patrons, and inspiring generations of sculptors after him. Flemish by birth, around 1550 Giambologna went to Rome, where he experienced at first hand the two major influences on his style, antique sculpture and the works of Michelangelo. Settling in Florence in the early 1550s, he spent the rest of his life there, attracting the patronage of the Medici Grand Dukes, for whom many of his most important works were made. He proved exceptionally skilled in working both marble and bronze, on both a small and a large scale. Among his most famous monumental masterpieces are the Fountain of Neptune in Bologna (1563-66), the Rape of a Sabine in Florence (1579-83) and the impressive garden sculpture executed for the Boboli Gardens and the Medici Villa at Pratolino, near Florence. A gifted entrepreneur, Giambologna succeeded in meeting the constantly increasing demand for his work by setting up a highly efficient workshop, which attracted many young sculptors from within and beyond Italy, including Antonio Susini and Adriaen de Vries, who would become important artists in their own right. There, small bronze replicas of his most popular monumental sculptures, sought after by patrons and collectors throughout Europe, were produced with the help of his many collaborators. He also created original small sculptural models, such as a famous series of groups representing the Labours of Hercules made to be cast in silver for the Studiolo of Francesco I de’ Medici and later replicated in innumerable bronze versions.