BANDINELLI, Baccio
(b. 1493, Firenze, d. 1560, Firenze)

Andrea Doria as Neptune

1528-36
Marble
Piazza del Duomo, Carrara

Andrea Doria, the commander of the imperial navy, could be identified easily with Neptune, the ancient god of the sea. Soon after he liberated Genoa from the French in 1528, city fathers (presumably with Doria's blessing) commissioned an over-life-sized marble statue of him as Neptune from the Florentine sculptor Baccio Bandinelli. This, the first Renaissance portrayal of a contemporary ruler as a nude Roman god, presented Doria as the pacific (peaceful) Neptune astride two dolphins who spout water into the antique-imitation basin below. The classicising image is alert and vigilant, a bearded counterpart to Michelangelo's Florentine David, whose stance and bearing Bandinelli clearly emulated. Like David, Doria was to be seen as the city's liberator and a man of the people.

Bandinelli worked on this statue, meant for a public place in Genow, intermittently from 1528 to 1536; it wasa never finished and remains in Carrara where the marble was quarried and the preliminary work took place.