Giambologna (Douai, France ca. 1529–1608 Florence)
Cast 1573, by Girolamo di Zanobi Portigiani
Bronze, with original oval base
8 1/2 x 10 1/4 in. (21.7 x 26 cm)
Surviving ancient small bronzes of sacrificial bulls are not uncommon, and this statuette may have been created in emulation of them. The bull’s majestic proportions and noble bearing may also reflect its use as an emblem by Cosimo I, the founder of the grand ducal Medici dynasty. This is a pristine bronze cast — its details were not sharpened in the metal with engraving tools. The hair on the bull’s head, his fleshy dewlap, swishing tail, and quizzical gaze capture the vitality of Giambologna’s original wax model.