Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sculpture of the Week - Appennino by Giambologna

Giambologna, Appennino, 1577-81
Villa (Demidoff) di Pratolino, 12km North of Florence (on the way to Bologna)

Mannerism is a funny stage in art history. It derives from Giorgio Vasari's ideas of 'perfection' in art, in particular his admiration for the use of colouring and muscular forms of Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling fresco. As such, Mannerist art is characterised by twisted, expressive figures and weird colour shifts in the paintings. I'm not a particularly big fan of Mannerist painting which is kinda weird and cold, but I've always found Mannerist sculpture to be amazingly full of life!

Think Mannerist sculpture, think Giambologna (1529-1608). Born in Flanders but active in Italy, particularly Florence, he was the foremost Mannerist sculptor of the day, and until the 19th century, Giambologna was considered second only to Michelangelo in reputation. His larger works are characterised by a sense of action and movement, while his smaller pieces have a beautiful delicacy.

The colossal Appennino sculpture is approximately 10 metres in height and constructed out of bricks and stones. Even without the rocky niche that was originally around it,
the craggy appearance of the mountain god makes him blend perfectly with the nature surrounding it. The huge figure looks as though he's just crossed the land or come out of the ground and bent down for a drink of water. I haven't visited this in person but apparently it's hollow and there's a room in Appennino's head. Who's up for a visit?!

1 comment:

Vanilla Bear said...

It's pretty cool, but it also freaks me out a bit :S I don't know why. Maybe it's his legs wide open like that