Mercury and Argus, with its dramatic composition combined with the bravura treatment of the bronze and its highly-finished state, exemplifies the very best of Florentine late Baroque sculpture.
Besides the present bronze, there is one other known version of this model by Foggini in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence (K. Lankheit, Florentinische Barockplastik: die Kunst am Hofe der Letzten Medici, 1670-1743, Munich, 1962, pp. 81, 82, no. 122). This Bargello version is noted in Grand Prince Ferdinando de' Medici's inventory after his death in 1713 as 'Mercury in the act of wounding a shepherd who lies sleeping beneath his feet' (Fogelman, op. cit., p. 264). There is also a beautiful porcelain version of Mercury and Argus, taken directly from Foggini's model, made by the Doccia factory circa 1749 and now in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (ibid., pp. 257-267, no. 33). There is a record of payment to Vincenzo Foggini, Giovanni Battista's son, in 1749 for casting this wax model, along with its pendant Perseus and Medusa. This wax model was also later recorded in the Doccia inventories as '...a group of Mercury who cuts off the head of Argus. By Gio. Batta. Foggini in wax with mold' (ibid., p. 260). As Fogelman has also noted, there are very slight differences between the present version, the Bargello version and the Getty porcelain, the largest difference being that Mercury in the present bronze holds a flute, while in the Bargello version it is largely missing the caduceus (ibid., p. 264). And, lastly, there is a group of Mercury and Prometheus by Foggini in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, where the figure of Mercury is similarly depicted dramatically draped and rushing forward (Pratesi, op. cit., no. 232).