DANTI, Vincenzo
(b. 1530, Perugia, d. 1576, Perugia)

Moses and the Brazen Serpent

Bronze, height 82 x 172 cm
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence

While establishing his reputation as a sculptor in marble, Danti continued to work in bronze. The large relief of Moses and the Brazen Serpent (Florence, Bargello), cast in two parts, was completed in late 1559 and may have been associated with the decorations of the Palazzo Vecchio, or with a failed project to make bronze reliefs a part of Bandinelli's choir in Florence Cathedral.

This relief suggests the hasty, sketchy style Michelangelo's composition drawings translated into bronze. The relief offer a wide variety of projections and a free handling of detail that produce, as light moves over the bronze, an equivalent of chiaroscuro effects and floating contours of rapid drawing in charcoal or chalk.

Whatever its original destination, the Brazen Serpent panel displays a freedom and variety in the treatment of relief, together with a lightness of hand and attenuation of form comparable to the best drawings of Florentine Mannerist artists.