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The Baccus at the Bargello Museum

Bargello Museum FlorenceMichelangelo was undoubtedly helped by being received into the circle of Cardinal Riario, which also included several Florentine bankers who had settled in the Papal city.

Among these Jacopo Galli in particular was a very active patron of Michelangelo. The banker, highly influential in Rome, owned a magnificent house in the city whose garden, a real outdoor “antiquarium”, contained a fine collection of ancient and modern works of art, as shown by a 16th century drawing by the Flemish artist Maarten Van Heemskerck. In this garden filled with antiquities Jacopo Galli had placed a sculpture by Michelangelo, the Baccus, as can be seen in the drawing.

The statue (now in the Bargello Museum in Florence) had been sculpted for Riario and then sold to Galli when the Cardinal no longer wanted it. Galli also purchased another work by Michelangelo, known from the ancient sources as an Apollo or Cupid, which recent studies have identified as the Young Bowman now located ina building accupied by the Cultural Bureau of French Embassy in New York.

Lastly, it was Galli who obtained for the sculptor the commission for the Pietà of Saint Peter’s in the Vatican, the first truly famous work by Michelangelo, the masterpiece that consacrated him as a great artist in the eyes of his contemporaries.

 

Photogallery Bargello

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