This Ancient Italian Sculpture Is Shrouded In Mystery

Have you ever had a feeling looking at a work of art that there is more to it than meets the eye? Of course, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa comes to mind. Centuries people wonder about the secret her smile keeps. Yet there is another famous sculpture shrouded in a mystery.  

It is a sculpture representing a human figure carved in the rock.  It was created by the Florentine  sculptor, the mannerist Giovanni da Bologna, in the late 1500s.  He designed it as a symbol of the rocky Italian Apennines. Now the huge sculpture is located in the villa Pratolino in Tuscany.  

When you look at the sculpture, you will not think, probably, that it poses any mystery. Unlike Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the bearded man of Giovanni da Bologna looks not at you but pensively watches the water falling from under his left hand into a green pool beneath him. You cannot, therefore, look into his eyes and fancy a flick of secrecy dancing in them, just as you imagine it looking at Mona Lisa’s face. You may surely ask yourself what thoughts are running through his head, when the man gazes so fixedly into the pool. But the mystery of his thoughts will be no deeper than the mystery of the workings of our own minds. Our thoughts are often as hidden from others as the thoughts of the bearded man are unknown to beholders.   

And yet, the man has much deeper and much more interesting inner world than you imagine. And it is so literally. The sculpture contains inside itself a couple of rooms, where people could comfortably live. From inside, the man is a kind of a house that can be habitable, if there is anybody brave enough to live inside the sculpture. Rumor has it that a room inside the man’s head was designed as a living room with a fireplace. One wonders only if smoke from a fireplace would belch out of the bearded man’s nostrils or ears and if his yes would flicker with the hellish red light. Were anybody to light fire inside the man’s head, his pensive face would look much sinister indeed.   

If you want to investigate how rooms were built inside the sculpture’s body, you may visit the park, where it is now located. It is open for visitors this Autumn. But they have not started to rent rooms inside the sculpture yet, it seems.