Pietro Tacca's Fontane dei Mostri Marini; Collecting copies at the end of the Gilded Age

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Abstract

Pietro Tacca's wonderfully bizarre Fontane dei Mostri Marini (Fountains of the Sea Monsters) in Florence's Piazza SS. Annunziata - designed and cast in bronze in the third decade of the seventeenth century - were widely praised in English-language guidebooks, travel literature, and scholarly texts in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They also attracted the attention of collectors, and between 1902 and 1920 four exceptionally affluent patrons - in Rome, Washington, dc, Minneapolis, and London - purchased copies of one of the fountains, three of them installing them in the grounds of their respective stately homes. This article examines the history of these copies -Their patrons, their installation, and their manufacture -Tracing the afterlife of Tacca's original fountain and illuminating a little-studied aspect of the history of collecting in Italy, the United States, and England at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-111
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of the History of Collections
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 9 2018

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