FOGGINI, Giambattista
(b. 1652, Firenze, d. 1725, Firenze)

Biography

Italian sculptor and architect. The foremost Florentine sculptor of the late Baroque period, he was first apprenticed to two painters successively but soon showed a greater propensity for sculpture. He was sent to Rome as one of the first pupils of the Florentine Academy there by Grand Duke Cosimo III in 1673. His three years' study encompassed drawing with Pietro da Cortona's former pupil Ciro Ferri as well as modelling and carving with Ercole Ferrata. Among his tasks were the copying of paintings in relief as well as compositions by Ferrata; consequently, Foggini's approach to narrative was indirectly tinctured by examples of Pietro da Cortona and Algardi. His precocious ability at this period is demonstrated in a terracotta relief of the Slaying of the Niobids (Museo Opificio Pietre Dure, Florence); a marble relief of the Adoration of the Shepherds (The Hermitage, St Petersburg); and a bronze relief of the Crucifixion (Palazzo Pitti, Florence), until recently ascribed to the court sculptor of the day, Ferdinando Tacca. These early works established his characteristic style, a novel late Baroque manner that changed little throughout his career.

After the training in Rome, Foggini returned to Florence and the position of first sculptor at the grand-ducal court. As first sculptor, he took over the foundry in Borgo Pinti originally run by Giambologna. A weak constitution compounded by illness encouraged him to concentrate on bronzes and small-scale works to conserve his strength. However, in the 1680s he decorated the Corsini Chapel of the Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence with large marble reliefs.