The bronze equestrian statue (1602-07) of Ferdinando I de' Medici (r. 1587-1609), which stands in Piazza Santissima Annunziata, was created by the Flemish sculptor Jean de Boulogne (1529-1608), better known as Giambologna, and his star pupil Pietro Tacca (1577-1640).
The statue was cast by recycling the cannons from an Ottoman galley, which had been captured by the Cavalieri di Santo Stefano (Knights of Saint Stephen), a holy/military order set up by Cosimo I de' Medici (r. 1537-74), Ferdinando's father. The capture and reuse of the Turkish cannons is proudly recorded by an inscription on the strap under the horse's belly: DEI METALLI RAPITI AL FERO TRACE (Of metal captured from the ferocious Turk).
Ferdinando, who was the third grand duke of Tuscany, wears armour emblazoned on the chest with the cross of the Cavalieri di Santo Stefano.
The marble pedestal is decorated with two bronze panels, one of which depicts concentric circles of bees, all facing the queen bee, which sits in the centre. At the top of the plaque are the words MAIESTATE TANTUM (Great Majesty). The political message, I think, is quite clear.
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