Sculpture Journal

Cigoli’s écorché and Giambologna’s circle

Sculpture Journal (2015), 24, (3), 317–332.

Abstract

This article argues that Cigoli’s écorché (1600), which exemplified a new naturalistic approach to the depiction of the human body, should be seen in relation to the works of Giambologna and other Flemish émigré sculptors active in Florence. Paralleling the naturalism in sacred imagery increasingly expected by post-Tridentine theorists, Cigoli, with his new teaching aid, sought to reform practices in the recently founded Accademia del Disegno. Yet Cigoli’s écorché was partially indebted to sculptures by one of the Accademia’s founding members, Giambologna, specifically his bronze animals, themselves at the intersection of art and science. Unlike Giambologna, however, Cigoli insisted that human figures, not only birds or horses, should be rendered with the utmost verisimilitude. By virtue of its naturalistic pose and scientific accuracy, Cigoli’s écorché seems more ‘life-like’ than the contorted and less refined scorticati of Willem van Tetrode and Pietro Francavilla; indeed, it would become the most popular anatomical model ever made.

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Author details

Bourla, Lisa