Born in Florence in 1685, Montauti is best known for his free-standing sculptures, as well as his sculptural reliefs that adorn coins and exquisite medals honoring various European royals. He also designed marble portrait busts celebrating Medici rulers. The stucco relief sculptures showcased at arte italia pay tribute to artists, writers, and scientists commissioned by the Medici ~ specifically Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Ficino, and Galileo.
Giambologna was one of the Medici's most important court sculptors and Mercury was among his most famous works. Born Jean Boulogne in 1529, he designed four versions of the Mercury. Initially conceived for the Villa Medici's classically-inspired fountain in 1564, the original rendering portrayed the ancient Roman Olympian God as a sleek youth poised on one foot and supported by a gust of wind blown from the Zephyr. Known as the "messenger of the gods," Mercury was often depicted with wings on his cap and heels. One arm points toward the heavens, while the other holds the caduceus, a staff entwined with serpents and surmounted by wings that symbolize his role as guide and protector.