Virtue Overcoming Vice – Gian Bologna

FLORENTINE, 1528-1608

Giovanni da Bologna, as he was formerly called, is the most typical sculptor of the Late Renaissance, who through personal force dominated an age of artistic decadence. Born in Flanders, he became a pupil of Michelangelo and worked most of his life in Florence, executing many famous pieces of statuary, among others the Flying Mercury of the Bargello, so well known the world over. He made, probably about 1566, a full-size group, Vice and Virtue, the same subject as the marble in the Altman Collection, and this too now rests in the Bargello. The relief be-longing to the Museum shows the sculptor’s suave yet lively modeling of the human figure, which he has here contrived to make heroic in effect in spite of the smallness of the actual dimensions of his marble. It should be noted that the architectural back-ground of this piece is a later addition and not part of the sculptor’s original design.