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Few European cities have captured the public imagination like Florence in the late sixteenth century. Under the rule of the Medici family, the city became an open-air workshop for painters, architects, goldsmiths, and sculptors. It was also a site for exchange and experimentation, where artists and artisans dialogued with poets, theologians, and natural philosophers.
The exhibition The Alchemist's Laboratory reflects the unique atmosphere of Florence at this time in history by focusing on the studio of one of its most illustrious inhabitants, the sculptor Giambologna.
While it did not seek to create the philosopher's stone, Giambologna's forge changed the state of metals, pouring together contemporary religious sentiment and pagan mythology, and infusing artistic life into inert matter. Sculptors from all over Europe took part in this transformative process, learning from his skills, continuing to cast his models for over two centuries and thus testifying to the longevity of his creative strength.
Stuart Lochhead Sculpture will present a selection of five bronze models by the master during the summer edition of London Art Week 2023. The pieces include a rare model of the ‘Striding Mars' and of ‘Hercules and the Centaur', amongst others. The works are sold as a group, which has been assembled over two decades by an important private American collector. As such, the exhibition affords the unique opportunity to secure at once a ‘complete' collection that conveys the essence of a city that defined the course of European art history.