This charming sculpture derives from a model created by Giambologna. It is known that Giambologna designed a bronze of ‘uno Pastore che suona la piva’ that was sent from the Grand Duke Cosimo II de’ Medici as a diplomatic present to Henry Prince of Wales in 1611; this description almost certainly corresponds with the present model. The Seated Bagpiper
, initially produced in metal and in small dimensions, is a subtle composition with a complex interplay of angular forms, characteristic of Giambologna. Its similarities to Dürer’s engraving of 1514 showing a standing Bagpiper
cross-legged, suggests that the sculptor knew the print and looked back to his Netherlandish roots when creating a sculpture with a rustic subject.
The Seated bagpiper, with its unusual subject, was a popular model and several examples in bronze are known, including those in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (inv. no. A.59-1956) and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (inv. no. M.2-1961).
K. Watson and C. Avery, ‘Medici and Stuart: a Grand Ducal gift’, Burlington Magazine, 115 1973; C. Avery, Giambologna. The complete sculpture, Oxford, 1987, p. 47