Hall, Kathryn Frances
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In 1558, a statue of a peasant pouring wine out of a barrel stood on top of a large green marble basin on the northeast side of the Boboli Garden in Florence. Commissioned by Duchess Eleonora di Toledo on her husband’s behalf, Baccio Bandinelli’s peasant statue represented a character from Virgil’s Georgics, dressed in contemporary garb. This statue was part of a larger pastoral allegory that presented an Arcadian vision of a land governed by Pan, the god of Nature. Combined with Giorgio Vasari’s pastoral allegories at the Palazzo Vecchio, this pastoral program at the Boboli Garden validated Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici’s title as the Grand Duke of Tuscany. This paper will analyze the artistic, cultural, and political context of the Villano commission connecting it to the longstanding history of Medicean pastoral art. Its analysis will elucidate the Villano within Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici’s pastoral patronage.