Il Porcellino, meaning “the little pig”, is a larger than a life-sized bronze sculpture of a wild boar, a fountain of good luck, in the grounds of the Sydney Eye Hospital facing Macquarie Street. It is anatomically realistic and rests on its left haunch and front legs. The sculpture is an exact replica of an original by Pietro Tacca (1577-1640) which has stood in Florence, Italy, since about 1633.
The boar stands over a pool containing representations of different animals. The boar and the fountain sit on a sandstone base, approximately 1.8 metres square, and the whole is approximately 1.6 metres high. The monument in Florence is believed to bring good luck if visitors put a coin into the boar’s gaping jaws, with the intent to let it fall through the underlying grating, and they rub the boar’s snout to ensure a return to Florence. Money collected was used to fund a hospital in Florence.
In Sydney, as in Florence, donations go to assist the work of the hospital. The sculpture was a gift to the City of Sydney from Marchesa Fiaschi Torrigiani, who donated the artwork to the city in 1968. It is a memorial to Brigadier-General Thomas Fiaschi and Piero Fiaschi, her father and brother respectively. Both worked as honorary surgeons at the Sydney Hospital and both had distinguished military careers.
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