The Wallace Collection

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Giovanni Battista Foggini (1652 - 1725)
Works of Art

After training with his uncle, the sculptor Jacopo Maria Foggini, the young Giovanni Battista was introduced to Grand Duke Ferdinando II, who granted him a salary and sent him to the Medici Academy in Rome to further his artistic education. His Roman sojourn, where he came under the strong influence of his teacher Ercole Ferrata and studied ancient and contemporary architecture with great passion, was of fundamental importance for his artistic development. In Rome he absorbed many lessons from Roman Baroque art, developing a highly pictorial style which would become predominant in Florence until well into the eighteenth century. Upon his return to Florence, in 1676, he began to work mainly for the Medici, at first as a sculptor, being appointed court sculptor after Ferdinando Tacca’s death in 1686, when he took over the workshop in Borgo Pinti which had once belonged to Giambologna. Foggini also became director of the Galleria dei Lavori (now the Opificio delle Pietre Dure), the manufactory for works in hardstone inlay, and made many designs for works in hard and precious stones executed in the grand ducal manufactories. In 1694 he was appointed court architect to the Medici. Among Foggini’s important sculptural works were numerous portraits for the grand ducal court, marble alterpieces for Tuscan churches and copies after the Antique for King Louis XIV of France. He also executed the bronze reliefs for the Tomb of Saint Francis Xavier in Goa and, from 1691, worked on the Feroni Chapel in the church of the Santissima Annunziata in Florence. Foggini’s small-scale two-figure groups, with mythological or allegorical subjects, subsequently cast in bronze, were immensely successful and popular.