Ormolu Medici Lion Sculpture
A rare early Nineteenth Century ormolu sculpture of the Medici lion; the lion with traces of the original fire gilding (especially in his mane) remaining rests his paw on a ball of agate; raised on a marble plinth.
The Medici lion is based on an original statue which dates to the Second Century, A. and after restoration by Flaminio Vacca was displayed with a copy at the Villa Medici, Rome. After 1798 the lions were displayed at the Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence and copies became popular souvenirs for travellers on the Grand Tour.
This copy of the Medici lion is unusual for several reasons. The modelling of the lion, especially his face is in a much earlier, more mannered style suggesting an early Nineteenth Century date. It is very rare to find ormolu examples, the Medici lion is usually cast in bronze with no gilding or carved in marble and I have never seen an example before using agate for the ball.