- Cosimo l de Medici
(1519–1574), Duke of Florence and Grand Duke of Tuscany, erected on the Piazza della Signoria in Florence in 1594. This was the first equestrian statue showing a ruler rather than a condottiere.
Giambologna (1529–1608) was an Italian sculptor in all but birth (as his original name – Jean de Boulogne – shows). He settled in Florence at the age of 24, and died there at the age of 79.The Medici never allowed him to leave Florence, as they rightly feared that either the Austrian or Spanish Habsburgs would entice him into permanent employment. He transformed the Florentine Mannerism into a style of European significance. His statue of Cosimo was a masterpiece, and it would become the standard for European royal courts. The influence of Giambologna was enormous. He or one of his pupils created all the equestrian statues erected in the first half of the seventeenth century.
The statue of Cosimo I in Florence is a masterpiece by Giambologna. The horse’s billowing mane contrasts with its static body, while the duke – one of the most important members of the Medici dynasty – governs his horse and implicitly the state.