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Christopher Gilbert

(b Belgern, nr Leipzig, 1741; d c. 1806).

German cabinetmaker. By 1770 he was established as a master cabinetmaker in Leipzig. An important early patron was the art dealer Karl Christian Heinrich Rost (1742–98), who commissioned furniture closely based on French and English models. In 1788 Hoffman obtained a loan to extend his business in Leipzig and a subsidiary workshop at Eilenburg; his total workforce was 16 tradesmen. In 1789, after a dispute with the local guild of cabinetmakers, he published his first pattern book, Abbildungen der vornehmsten Tischlerarbeiten, welche verfertiget und zu haben sind bey Friedrich Gottlob Hoffmann, wohnhaft auf dem alten Neumarkt in Leipzig, an anthology of designs for household furniture, mostly inspired by the Louis XVI Neo-classical style. In 1795 he produced a second catalogue, Neues Verzeichnis und Muster-Charte des Meubles-Magazin, in which English design types are dominant. A number of pieces corresponding to plates in these two pattern books have been identified (e.g. sofa, ...


Franco Bernabei

(b Monte dell’Olmo, nr Macerata, June 13, 1732; d Florence, March 31, 1810).

Italian antiquary and art historian. He studied in Jesuit schools in Fermo and later in Rome, where he entered the Order of St Ignatius. His education was mainly classical, although it also included philosophy and mathematics. While in Rome he taught classical literature in Jesuit schools, concurrently absorbing the Neo-classical theories of Johann Joachim Winckelmann and Anton Raphael Mengs. When the Jesuit Order was suppressed in 1773 he was in Siena, where he had been sent for health reasons. In 1775 Grand Duke Leopold of Tuscany (1747–92) appointed him curator of the antiquarian section of the Uffizi, Florence. This initiated a period of intense activity cataloguing, classifying and enriching the collection. In 1782 his catalogue of the reorganized gallery was published. In the meantime he travelled throughout Tuscany, not only doing research into the archaeological background required for this work but coincidentally broadening his interest in modern art. The combination of his early literary and linguistic interests with his new research on bronzes, gems and antique statues, which in that region were mostly Etruscan, inspired his ...


Peter Boutourline Young

(b Milan, 1739; d Milan, 1825).

Italian scientist, philosopher, writer and architect. His early education took place in Milan, Monza, Rome and Naples between 1756 and 1765. Having joined the Barnabite order in 1756, he became a member of the regular clergy of S Paolo, Milan. In 1766 he was appointed professor-in-ordinary of mathematics at the Università di S Alessandro in Milan, where he also taught chemistry, mineralogy and canon law, and in 1772 he became professor of natural history. While best known for his work in geology and natural history, he is also remembered for his treatise Dell’architettura: Dialoghi (1770), which includes all the plans of the church of S Giuseppe at Seregno. Pini himself designed the Neo-classical interior of the church, which was completed by Giulio Galliori (1715–95). The treatise is arranged in the form of two Socratic dialogues by mathematics students in Milan and Longone. The first deals with the dome and the centrally planned church. The students exchange opinions on the mathematical calculation of domes, arches and vaults; Francesco Borromini is praised for his great technical ability, while his successors, in particular the French, are condemned for being responsible for ‘depraving the good taste of architecture’. The students conclude that intrinsic beauty is to be found in simple geometric shapes and that architecture can derive examples from the classical repertory. The second dialogue deals with fortifications and is of considerable importance for the study of the engineer ...