Ferdinando prefers bronze to marble. His bronzes offer an unprecedented variety of textures, from smooth skin to rough ground. In the themes, he has a preference for the groups which he makes by assembling the elements.
He edits for the first time the various figures of the Hercules cycle prepared by his father around 1614 for an order that had never come. A 58 x 55 x 38 cm group with a superb patina was sold for £ 6.8M including premium by Christie's on July 5, 2018.
The period of Ferdinando's activity falls into a phase of disinterest for the Mannerist and Baroque sculpture. He changes activity around 1650. Despite the importance of his workshop in the 1640s and his undeniable skill, his personal achievement was forgotten until 1976. His bronzes, certainly very difficult to execute, are produced in very small quantities and each theme may include several variants slightly different of each other.
Ferdinando conceived a series of scenes inspired by Ovid or Ariosto showing a man and a woman in the full excitement of an erotic drama, for example Venus and Adonis or Medoro and Angelica.
His interpretation of Apollo and Daphne is hot. The scene is shown at the moment when the nude god with the smile of a satyr puts his hand on the panicked nymph. Unlike the large marble finished by Bernini in 1625, the nymph is not naked but the god is tearing off her tunic. The lightness of these running bodies is in the taste of Giambologna. The reference version, 49 x 42 cm, is kept in the Louvre.
A second version, 44 x 44 cm, has just surfaced. It is less complete : Apollo does not have his quiver and Daphne does not hold the laurels that symbolize her salvation. These items may have never been assembled on this copy. The marble base is later. In this state, this bronze is estimated £ 200K for sale by Sotheby's in London on December 4, lot 67. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
SOLD for £ 320K including premium