Tacca designs groups in violent action as well as equestrian monuments, made in bronze by assembling elements. His statue of King Philip IV of Spain on a rearing horse only standing on its hind legs and tail is an unprecedented technical feat but the artist died in 1640 just before the installation of this masterpiece.
In 1612 the heir to the throne of England is the 18 years old Prince Henry. He communicates to the Grand Duke of Tuscany his interest in bronzes. Appealed by the idea of an easy support for a new alliance, the Grand Duke commissions to Tacca a set of groups illustrating the labours of Hercules.
Around 1614 Tacca prepares five models but the young English prince had died and the project no longer interests anyone. Twenty years later there were still arrears of payment.
It is not Pietro but his son Ferdinando who brings to perfection the art of the Florentine bronze, with a surface finish that simulates in a differentiated way the skin, the hair, the textile, the hide, the rock, the plant. The five groups of Hercules had remained unused. Ferdinando made the first bronzes of this series after the death of his father. The sculpture is out of fashion. Ten years later Ferdinando had become a theater machinist and an architect.
In 1681 the French King Louis XIV wishes to complete the education of his son and heir the Grand Dauphin. He gathers a collection of nine humanist minded bronzes including four groups of Hercules made in the 1640s by Ferdinando Tacca.
Released from the royal collections during the French Revolution, Hercules slaying the Acheloüs bull, 58 x 55 x 38 cm with a beautiful reddish-brown patina, was sold for $ 1.65M by Sotheby's on May 20, 1994. It will be sold by Christie's in London on July 5, lot 110. The press release of April 16 announces an estimate in the region of £ 5M.
SOLD for £ 6.8M including premium