The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Statuette of Giovanni delle Bande Nere
  • Giovanni Bastianini (1830 - 1868)
  • Statuette of Giovanni delle Bande Nere
  • Florence, Italy
  • 19th century
  • Statuette
  • Terracotta and gold, gilded
  • Height: 61.9 cm, with base
    Height: 45.6 cm, without base
    Height: 16.4 cm, base only
  • S57
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Giovanni delle Bande Nere (1498-1526) was a member of the Florentine Medici family and became a mercenary soldier (condottiere), who gained a brilliant reputation as an intrepid leader of his troops in the Italian wars. He was killed in action near Mantua in 1526, when leading an attack on the forces of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. His nickname Giovanni of the Black Bands came when, following the death of Pope Leo X in 1521, he added black bands to his insignia as a sign of mourning. Giovanni was the father of Cosimo de’Medici (1519-1574), who was to become the first Grand Duke of Florence and who expended much energy on attempts to boost the posthumous reputation of his father. The figure, which shows Giovanni wearing a sort of antique style armour, was until very recently regarded as an important 16th-century terracotta model. It has however now been conclusively identified as the work of the nineteeth-century Florentine sculptor Giovanni Bastianini, who specialised in the production of sculptures in the Renaissance style. Many of these sculptures, including the Giovanni delle Bande Nere, were placed on the market as genuine Renaissance works of art.