×
FREE ASSISTANCE FOR THE INQUISITIVE PEOPLE
Tutorial Topics
X
softetechnologies
Molly-Malone, by Jeanne Rynhart
Apennine Colossus, by Giambologna - Scintillating Sculptures
217    Dibyendu Banerjee    16/06/2024

Nestled in the picturesque landscape of Tuscany, Italy, the huge sculpture called the Apennine Colossus or the Colossus of the Apennine, depicting Father Apennine, a personification of the Apennine Mountains., was created between 1579 and 1580 by the Flemish sculptor Jean de Boulogne, better known as Giambologna. The huge sculpture, around 36 feet (11 m) high, was built in the garden of the Villa di Pratolino, a beautiful Renaissance aristocratic villa, built by Francesco de Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, mainly to please his Venetian mistress, the celebrated Bianca Cappello.

softetechnologies

The Pratolino is located about 10 kilometres north of Florence, at the foot of the Apennine mountain range and the Villa di Pratolino was considered a shining example of a Mannerist garden in its prime. Unfortunately, after the death of Francesco in 1587 and that of his wife Bianca Cappello the next day, the gardens and the beautiful villa gradually fell to ruin, when many of the sculptures of the gardens were relocated to other gardens. Finally, the Villa di Pratolino was demolished in 1822, and after half a century, the heirs of Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, sold the property to Paolo II of the Russian Demidoff family in 1872, who built their own villa on it. However, the Villa Demidoff became a public property, when the Villa Demidoff was purchased by the Province of Florence in 1981.

apennine colossus by giambologna

The Colossus of the Apennine, once the water source for the Pratolino and meant as a personification of the Apennine mountains, has the appearance of an elderly man crouched at the shore of a lake, surrounded by other sculptures depicting mythological themes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which include Pegasus, a winged horse in Greek mythology, Parnassus, a mountain range in central Greece, and Jupiter, the king of the gods. But as Father Apennine is not depicted in any ancient artwork, and the description by Virgil is limited to father and snow-crowned head, it is presumed that Giambologna was inspired by the description of Titan Atlas, who led the rebellion against Zeus and was consequently punished to hold the world on his shoulders.

softetechnologies

The brutish musculature incorporated into the sculpture clearly reflects the strength of the Titan, as well as the great mountain range that span across the Italian peninsula, while the long, thick stalactite beard symbolises the knowledge of the ages. However, others maintain that Atlas, as described by the Roman poet Virgil in his epic poem The Aeneid, served as the inspiration of Giambologna.

apennine colossus by giambologna

The Apennine Colossus, depicted Father Apennine, a personification of the Apennine Mountains, as a naked elderly man with muscular body, thick beard and long hair with dripping stalactites, and a rugged texture of the skin, crouched at the shore of a lake. His left hand is in front of him, as if to squeeze the head of a sea monster, through whose open mouth water emanates into the pond ahead of the statue.

softetechnologies

The sculpture, made of stone and plaster, is perfectly blended with the surrounding nature, and appears to be partially covered with moss and lichens, while in the winter season, icicles cover his body.

apennine colossus by giambologna

However, the uniqueness of the sculpture lies as a surprise in the intricately carved and carefully planned interior of the colossus, containing a series of chambers, caves and passageways on three levels, accessible through hidden entrances. It contains a cave in the ground floor of the colossus, known as the Grotto de Thetis, decorated with frescos of villages from the Mediterranean coast of Tuscany, by the Italian painter Jacopo Ligozzi in 1586, and contains an octagonal fountain dedicated to Thetis, a Greek goddess of water. There were two working fountains in the giant's upper floor, along with a chamber, which is big enough to accommodate a small orchestra, while the chamber in the head contains a fireplace, which when lit, emits smoke through the nostrils of the colossus. The chamber in the head had slits in the ears and the eyes, and story says, Francesco, the owner of the villa, liked to relax and enjoy fishing while sitting in the chamber in the head of the colossus, throwing the fishing line through one of the eye slits. After the end of the day, when darkness covers the landscape, the chamber was illuminated with torches, creating an eerie atmosphere, as the eyes appeared to glow in the dark.

apennine colossus by giambologna

Colosso dell’Appennino or the Apennine Colossus, a breathtaking work of art, created by Giambologna, serves as a testament to the artist’s remarkable skill and dedication. It is a captivating fusion of art and engineering, offering a breathtaking tribute to the majesty of the Apennine Mountains, and also a beloved landmark in Tuscany, drawing tourists and art enthusiasts from around the world.

Molly-Malone, by Jeanne Rynhart
softetechnologies
Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
Enter New Comment
Comment History
No Comment Found Yet.
Rabindranath Tagore
The biggest changes in a women's nature are brought by love; in man, by ambition
Rabindranath Tagore
27357
52.76
Today So Far
Total View (Lakh)
softetechnologies
26/05/2018     42032
01/01/2018     36003
28/06/2017     34089
25/06/2018     33447
02/08/2017     32401
01/08/2017     26866
06/07/2017     26791
15/05/2017     26418
14/07/2017     21855
21/04/2018     20717
softetechnologies