Detail. Juno Fountain. 1561 circa. Originally for the Sala Grande of the Palazzo Vecchio, now Museo del Bargello, Florence.
Extracted from the Life of Jacopo Sansovino
Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists
OF OUR TUSCANS, one of the disciples of Sansovino has been the Florentine Bartolommeo Ammanati, of whom record has already been made inmany places in this work. This Bartolommeo, I say, worked under Sansovino in Venice; and then in Padua for Messer Marco da Mantova, a most excellent doctor of medicine, in whose house he made an immense giant from more than one piece of stone for his court, and his tomb, with many statues. Afterwards, Ammanati having gone to Rome in the year 1550, there were allotted to him by Giorgio Vasari four statues of marble, each of four braccia, for the tomb of the old Cardinal di Monte, which Pope Julius III had allotted to Giorgio himself in the Church of San Pietro a Montorio, as will be related; which statues were held to be very beautiful.
Wherefore Vasari, having conceived an affection for him, made him known to the said Julius III, who, having ordained what he wanted done, caused him to be set to work; and so both of them, Vasari and Ammanati, worked together for a time at the Vigna. But not long afterwards, when Vasari had gone to serve Duke Cosimo in Florence, the above-named Pope being dead, Ammanati, who found himself without work and badly recompensed by that Pontiff for his labors in Rome, wrote to Vasari, praying him that, even as he had assisted him in Rome, so he should assist him in Florence with the Duke. Whereupon Vasari, occupying himself with fervor in this matter, introduced him into the service of the Duke, for whom he has executed many statues in marble and in bronze that are not yet in position. For the garden of the Castello he has made two figures in bronze larger than life--namely, a Hercules who is crushing Antaeus, from which Antaeus, in place of his spirit, there issues from the mouth water in great abundance.
Finally, Ammanati has executed in marble the colossal figure of Neptune that is in the Piazza, ten braccia and a half in height; but since the work of the fountain, in the center of which the said Neptune is to stand, is not finished, I shall say nothing more of it. The same Ammanati, as architect, is giving his attention with much honor and praise to the fabric of the Pitti, in which work he has a great opportunity to show the worth and grandeur of his mind, and the magnificence and great spirit of Duke Cosimo. I could tell many particulars of this sculptor, but since he is my friend, and another, so I hear, is writing his history, I shall say no more, in order not to set my hand to things that may be related by another better than I perhaps might be able.