Bust of Ferdinand II de' Medici
Giovanni Battista Foggini (1652-1725)
Giovanni Battista Foggini, director of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence, was a key figure in the Baroque development of seventeenth-century sculpture. His formulation of composed elegance accented by penetrating gazes soon became the benchmark for official portraiture in Florence. Stylistically, this bust is of remarkable quality with its refined compositional language, evident in the expressive features of the face whose piercing gaze exudes an austere nobility. The elegant armour is adorned with decorative ornamentation and a soft mantle is carefully draped over the shoulders and chest. Ferdinando II de' Medici (1610-1670) was Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1621 to 1670. Until he came of age, Tuscany was entrusted to the regency of his mother, Maria Magdalena of Austria, and his paternal grandmother, Christina of Lorraine. The government was abysmal: much wealth was squandered due to their obsession with luxury and a tax increase marked the beginning of Tuscany's economic decline. In 1628, Ferdinand II became grand duke in his own right and was immediately appreciated by his subjects for his simple character and his reduction of court expenses.