In 1594, twenty years after his death, a grand bronze equestrian statue of Cosimo I de' Medici (r. 1537-74), the first grand duke of Tuscany, was unveiled in the Piazza della Signoria.
It was the first statue of its kind to be erected in Florence and it was commissioned by Cosimo's son, Ferdinando, the third grand duke of Tuscany (r. 1584-1609).
A bronze plaque on the pedestal salutes Cosimo, in the name of his son, as 'pious, fortunate, invincible, just, clement, best of fathers and princes'.
The man who created the sculpture was Jean Boulogne, a Flemish sculptor, who was known in Italy as Giambologna (1529-1608). Giambologna would go on to execute a similar statue of Ferdinando, which stands in Piazza Santissima Annunziata.