The bronze figure of a wild boar, cast by Baroque master Pietro Tacca (1577-1640) around 1634, is in the Pitti Palace, Florence and was inspired by a Hellenistic marble original. A bronze casting is also in the Loggia del Mercato Nuovo, close by the Ponte Vecchio and is one of the sights of Florence. This carved serpentine model is a 19th century Grand Tour souvenir.
Italian, circa 1850 – 1880
Height 6” (15cm) Width 6.5” (16.5cm) Depth 3.5” (9cm)
Stock No. 9517
Il Porcellino is the Florentine nickname for the cast bronze fountain statue of a wild boar – Cinghiale, in Italian - which sits in the Mercato Nuovo in Florence. It was sculpted and cast by the Baroque sculptor Pietro Tacca (1577 – 1640) some time before 1634, a copy of a Greek marble brought back to Florence from Rome by the Medici family in the mid 16th century. A 17th century marble copy of the original now stands in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. To protect Tacca’s bronze from further wear and tear by tourists, a copy now sits in the Mercato Nuovo, as the original was removed for safekeeping to the Museo Bordini in the Palazzo Mozzi. With references by the English literary traveller, Tobias Smollett in 1766, a custom that has prevailed since at least the 18th century, is to rub the nose of the boar, which will ensure one’s return to Florence. Placing a coin in the boar’s mouth and seeing it fall into the grating below is also purported to bring good luck. Il Porcellino figured in Hans Christian Anderson’s as ‘The Bronze Hog’ in ‘A Poet’s Bazaar’ and appeared in at least two films, ‘Hannibal’ (2001) and ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt 2’ (2011). Copies of the statue are in existence all over the world.