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John R. Melville-Jones

(b Vicenza, c. 1468; d Vicenza, 1546).

Italian gem-engraver, goldsmith and medallist. The most important part of his career was spent in Rome, where he worked for Clement VII and his successor Paul III. He also spent a short period in Venice, returning from there to Vicenza in 1530 and remaining in the latter city for most of the time until his death. In Rome he was a well-established member of artistic and literary circles, associating, for example, with Michelangelo and the humanist scholar Pietro Bembo. No specimens of his work as a goldsmith survive, but he is called ‘aurifex’ in contemporary documents and may have made the settings for his carved gems.

Belli specialized in cutting gems and crystal and in carving dies for coins and medals. Although his work demonstrates technical ability of the highest order, his talent was not an original one. His style followed that of his contemporaries working in the major arts or was governed by his study of ancient coins and gems. His best-known works are those made for his papal patrons, many consisting of or incorporating carvings in rock crystal or semiprecious stones. The most splendid of these is a silver-gilt casket adorned with 24 carvings in crystal showing scenes from the ...


(b Modena, c. 1490; d London, ?Feb 15, 1569).

Italian stuccoist, sculptor, painter and costume designer, active in France and England. He worked in France as a painter (1515–22), probably under Jean Perréal and Jean Bourdichon, then in Mantua, possibly under Giulio Romano, possibly calling himself ‘da Milano’. By 1532 he was at Fontainebleau and in 1533 was engaged with Francesco Primaticcio on the stuccoes and painting of the Chambre du Roi and was one of the highest paid of his collaborators. He may also have worked on the Galerie François I. He was described in 1534 as sculpteur et faiseur de masques and in 1535 made masquerade costumes for the wedding of the Comte de Saint-Pol. He was later involved in a fraud and by August 1537 was in England, where he settled. By 1540 Bellin was employed at Whitehall Palace, probably on making stucco chimneypieces, including that in the privy chamber. The following year he and his company of six were working on the slate carvings at ...


Steven Bule

(da Mercatello)

(b ?Perugia; fl 1498; d Todi, March or April 1528).

Italian wood-carver. He is first mentioned in 1498 in Perugia, where he had been for some time and where he may have been born. Between 1498 and 1500, Bencivenni was associated with Crispolto di Polto da Bettona (fl 1468–1512) on a few projects related to the construction of the choir-stalls in S Domenico, Perugia. He is last mentioned in Perugia in 1518, when he moved to Todi. During the next ten years in Todi, Bencivenni, with his son Sebastiano (b c. 1505), worked on several projects including doors for S Francesco, Montone, and the doors and choir-stalls of Todi Cathedral (including four reliefs of the Virgin Annunciate, Gabriel, St Peter and St Paul). Bencivenni was one of the finest wood-carvers of his generation. His sculptural style is decorative and richly refined, and his carving is precise and accurate in execution, recalling the linear style in flattened relief of Agostino di Duccio, but fuller and more robust. The sense of balance and equilibrium present in Bencivenni’s carving appears to have been influenced by contemporary Umbrian painting, especially Pietro Perugino’s lyrical classicism. It has been proposed that ...


Elizabeth A. Lisot

(di Battista di Matteo)

(b Florence, 1470; d c. 1537).

Italian sculptor. The son of Giovanni Battista di Matteo, he was educated in Pisa. He was best known for his elaborate, fluid and well-composed style of decoration. He appears to have been less adept at carving figures, which is why his works are primarily reliefs, and most successful when highly decorative. Because of the similarity between his style and that of Lorenzo Stagi (b ?1455) and Stagio Stagi, and because of the lack of detailed documentation, distinguishing between the work of Benti and that of the Stagi is often difficult. The first documentary reference to his work dates from 1485, the year Pietrasanta came within the domain of Florence. There is mention that he worked with the ‘Master of the Door’ in the cathedral of S Martino in Pietrasanta.

For the next decade Benti was active in Pietrasanta, helping with the reinforcement of the city walls and gateway, as well as undertaking more work in the cathedral. The fortress of Pietrasanta was surrendered to the French king, Charles VIII, in ...


Vincent Mayr

(b Lübeck, c. 1470/80; d Lübeck, 1532–5).

German sculptor. After an apprenticeship in south Germany, probably close to the workshop of Veit Stoss, in 1504–5 he was invited to Odense by Christina of Saxony, Queen of Denmark (1461–1521). Among her commissions was a high altar (1517–22; ex-Franciscan Church, Odense; Odense, St Canute), Berg’s main work, in which he combined the Tree of Life (Crucifixion), All Saints, the Passion of Christ and the Veneration of the Virgin. He also carved altarpieces for the churches in Århus, Vejlby and Bregninge, among others, as well as crucifixes and figures of saints, and he is attributed with tomb slabs, pulpits, epitaphs and choir-stalls. When Berg left Denmark in 1532, probably for religious reasons, he went to Mecklenburg. In this period he carved a series of eleven figures of the Apostles (Güstrow Cathedral) in oak (the twelfth, St John, had been carved before 1500 by another artist). Their drapery recalls the style of Veit Stoss, but the energetic movements of the figures (determined by the edged surfaces of the oak) show Berg to have been a sculptor representing the essence of the Baltic Late-Gothic style on the eve of the Reformation. It was as vigorous as the work of Veit Stoss in south Germany, and, on the basis of a common iconography, Berg produced powerful figures. He also executed altars (Wittstock; Zehna near Güstrow; Lanken near Lübz) and single figures (Hohen Viecheln; Kraak, St Florian)....


Valentino Donati

(Desiderio) [Giovanni da Castel Bolognese]

(b Castel Bolognese, 1494; d Faenza, May 22, 1553).

Italian gem-engraver and medallist. He was first instructed as a gem-engraver by his father, the goldsmith Bernardo Bernardi (1463–1553). His earliest works, which dated from the three years he spent in Ferrara at the court of Alfonso I d’Este, were an engraving on crystal of the Battle of La Bastia and steel dies for struck medals representing Alfonso d’Este and Christ Taken by the Multitude (untraced; see Vasari). By 1530 Giovanni Bernardi was in Rome, where he worked for the cardinals Giovanni Salviati and Ippolito de’ Medici. He was commissioned to produce a portrait of Pope Clement VII for the obverse of a medal struck with two different reverses: Joseph Appearing to his Brothers (e.g. Modena, Gal. & Mus. Estense; London, V&A) and the Apostles Peter and Paul (e.g. Milan, Castello Sforzesco; Paris, Bib. N.). For Clement VII he engraved on rock crystal the Four Evangelists (Naples, Capodimonte), a work that was much praised and admired; even Benvenuto Cellini, in his ...


Michael P. Mezzatesta and Rudolf Preimesberger


Italian family of artists. Three generations of the Bernini family were first and foremost sculptors. (1) Pietro Bernini trained his sons (2) Gianlorenzo Bernini and (3) Luigi Bernini, Gianlorenzo becoming one of the greatest artists of the 17th century. Florentine in origin, the family moved from Naples to Rome in 1605 or 1606, and Gianlorenzo’s reputation is largely based on his contributions to that city. His brother Luigi served as an assistant and manager of his large workshop. Of Gianlorenzo’s 11 children, Paolo Bernini (b 1648) entered his father’s service, assisted in various late projects and accompanied him to Paris in 1665; Domenico Bernini (1657–1723), the youngest son, was a student of church history and wrote an important biography of his father.

(b Sesto Fiorentino, May 5, 1562; d Rome, Aug 29, 1629).

Sculptor. He appears to have begun his artistic training in the workshop of the sculptor ...


Stanisław Mossakowski

(b Pontassieve, nr Florence, c. 1480; d Kraków, Aug 1537).

Italian architect and sculptor, active in Poland. He may be the otherwise unidentified ‘scultore Bartolomeo’, who was employed in 1505–6 on preliminary work being done on the marble mausoleum of S Giovanni Gualberto Bisdomini at the Badia di Passignano (Mossakowski, 1986). He was called to Poland before 1517 to design and build King Sigismund I’s sepulchral chapel (1519–26) in Kraków Cathedral and took charge of the masons’ workshop with its staff of c. 30 assistants, mainly sculptors from Tuscany. The Sigismund Chapel, this workshop’s chief masterpiece, was executed to Berrecci’s plans and with his collaboration. The centralized structure is built on a square plan and has an octagonal drum supporting a dome with a lantern (see Kraków, §IV, 2, (ii)). It is undoubtedly one of the most successful and original architectural and sculptural achievements of the Italian Renaissance outside Italy.

Other works by Berrecci include his collaboration in ...


(b Mantua, c. 1516; d Mantua, April 2, 1576).

Italian architect, painter, sculptor and writer. He was educated in Mantua, was recorded as active ‘for many years in Rome and elsewhere’ and became known only when he was over 30, due to his design for the triumphal decorations set up in Mantua in January 1549 in honour of Philip (later Philip II of Spain), son of Emperor Charles V. The success of these decorations won for him the esteem of Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga, and he obtained the prestigious appointment of supervisor of the Cathedral Works (Opera del Duomo) and in May 1549 the title of Prefetto delle Fabbriche Ducali, a post that had remained vacant for almost three years following the deaths, in rapid succession, of Giulio Romano and Battista da Covo. The decree of appointment praises him as a ‘supreme architect, excellent painter, refined sculptor’, yet the only evidence of his youthful activity as a painter consists of an order (...


Jan K. Ostrowski

(b Kraków, c. 1556; d after 1592).

Polish sculptor. He was the son of Piotr Biały, a builder in Kraków. In 1572 he became a pupil of Giovanni Maria Mosca Padovano; after the latter’s death (1573) he studied under Jan Michałowicz z Urzędowa. He completed his apprenticeship in Kraków on 8 April 1576. Documents show that he worked mainly in Lwów (now L’viv, Ukraine). The Roman Catholic cathedral there contains his only signed and dated composition (1592), the alabaster altarpiece commissioned by Archbishop Jan Dymitr Solikowski. Also attributed to Biały are the strikingly similar altarpiece in the church in Zarzecze (derived from the Armenian cathedral in Lwów) and the old altarpiece (1595) from the chapel of St Hyacinthus (Pol. Jacek) in the Dominican church in Kraków, converted in 1629 into stalls in the church of St Giles (Pol. Idzi). Biały belonged to the second generation of Polish sculptors (after Michałowicz) who fully mastered the Renaissance forms propagated by immigrant Italian artists. His works, based on Italian principles of composition emanating from the studios of Padovano and Michałowicz, contain Dutch pattern-book ornamentation in a stylistic mélange typical of Polish Mannerism of the second half of the 16th century. The artistic milieu in Lwów also favoured lavish decoration and the use of ornamental motifs from Oriental art, which was well known there through intensive trade contacts and which was prevalent among the large colony of Armenian artists....


Robin A. Branstator

(b Loro Ciuffenna, before 1512; d Venice, after Dec 1553).

Italian sculptor. He was the son of Nicolò Bianco, according to a will drawn up for Simone in 1547; the earliest reference to Simone occurs in a contract dated 6 June 1512 commissioning four marble reliefs of Old Testament scenes for the Scuola del Sacramento, Treviso Cathedral. He apparently did not complete the carvings. In 1532 the Venetian Marcantonio Michiel wrote of two marble sculptures (ex-Odoni priv. col., Venice), the first one of Two Feet executed completely in the round, the second of Mars carrying his helmet over one shoulder. Although these works have not been located, their description makes clear that they conformed to the antique type evident in Bianco’s extant pieces. The artist also attracted the brief notice of Vasari, who mentioned him as a ‘scultore fiorentino’, although it was in Venice that Bianco settled and made his mark as a sculptor. In 1548 Pietro Aretino wrote to his friend Bianco, praising the artist’s marble bust of Nicolò Molino’s wife and noting that both Titian and Jacopo Sansovino concurred with his opinion that the portrait was delightful apart from a certain roughness in the treatment of the hair. This work is probably the bust attributed to Bianco now in the Staatliche Museen in Berlin. In fact all Bianco’s identified works are marble and bronze portrait busts, sculpted ...


Maria Teresa Fiorio

(b Milan, ?c. 1581; d c. 1630).

Italian sculptor. His first documented works are an Abraham (1595) and David (1596) executed for Milan Cathedral; their dates cast doubt on the evidence for his date of birth. Apart from some minor works for S Maria presso S Celso (1601, 1603) in Milan and for the Certosa di Pavia (1605), his activity was concentrated on Milan Cathedral, where his work is richly documented, although it is not always easy to identify. For the exterior he produced a series of documented statues of Joshua (1605), David and Moses (all 1606), Tobias and the Archangel (both 1608). Between 1612 and 1629 he executed eight of the relief sculptures of the scenes from the Life of Christ together with figures of prophets for the external wall of the cathedral. In 1616 he was asked to provide 40 red wax models of angels for the altar of the Madonna dell’Albero, and from ...


Glenn M. Andres

[Lippi, Giovanni]

(b Florence, 1512–13; d Rome, Aug 1568).

Italian architect and sculptor. He was the most productive member of an architectural family. His father, Baccio Bigio (Bartolomeo di Giovanni Lippi), was active in Florence in the early 16th century; his sons, Annibale Lippi (fl 1563–81) and Claudio Lippi, were active in Rome in the 1560s and 1570s. Nanni himself trained first as a sculptor in association with Raffaelo da Montelupo, enrolling in the Compagnia di S Luca in Florence in 1532. With Montelupo he travelled to Rome, where he entered the workshop of Lorenzo di Lodovico di Guglielmo Lotti (Lorenzetto), under whom he carved the first of two well-received copies (1532; marble; Rome, S Maria dell’Anima; and mid-1540s; Florence, Santo Spirito) of Michelangelo’s early Pietà in St Peter’s in Rome and the tomb effigy of Clement VII (1540; Rome, S Maria sopra Minerva).

About 1540 Nanni turned to architecture, finding employment with Lorenzetto on the fabric of St Peter’s, then under the direction of ...


Paul Huvenne


(b ?Poperinghe, 1488; d Bruges, bur March 4, 1581).

South Netherlandish painter, draughtsman, designer, architect, civil engineer, cartographer and engraver. He is said to have trained as a bricklayer, and the trowel he used to add as his housemark next to his monogram lab testifies to this and to his pretensions as an architectural designer. In 1519 he was registered as a master painter in the Bruges Guild of St Luke, where he chose as his speciality painting on canvas. The following year he collaborated with the little-known painter Willem Cornu in designing and executing 12 scenes for the Triumphal Entry of Emperor Charles V into Bruges. From then onwards Blondeel received regular commissions, mainly as a designer and organizer. Records of legal actions show that he was sometimes late with commissions; he took seven years to execute a Last Judgement ordered in 1540 for the council chamber at Blankenberge, and in 1545 the Guild of St Luke summoned him for his failure to supply their guild banner on time. Blondeel was married to Kathelyne, sister of the wood-carver ...


Philippe Rouillard

(fl 1515–28).

French sculptor. He was established at Orléans, producing architectural, religious and tomb sculpture that is now destroyed or untraced. Among his works were the carved stone doorway of the chapel at the château of Thouars, Deux-Sèvres (destr.) and a group of three statues (c. 1520; destr. 1820) for the chapel of St Saviour at the collegiate church of Cléry-Saint-André, near Orléans. One of his most ambitious works, for which he inherited the contract from Martin Claustre in 1525, was the marble and alabaster tomb of Guillaume de Montmorency and Anne Pot (destr. 1808 but known from an engraving of 1624) in the church of St Martin at Montmorency, Val-d’Oise. It followed a common pattern for French tombs in the early 16th century, with a base in the form of a sarcophagus, surrounded by statues of the 12 Apostles in shell-headed niches separated by pilasters in the antique manner. On top of this were the recumbent effigies of the deceased in contemporary dress....


Stephen K. Scher

(fl 1574–92).

Italian medallist. Although he worked in the papal mint from 1580 to 1592, virtually nothing is known about his life and career, which may say something about the relative unimportance of a die-engraver, a job that he is documented as having in 1591 (‘incisore della Zecca Romana’). He seems to have moved with his brother, Emilio de’ Bonis, from Venice to Rome and signed a medal in 1574 for the inauguration of the Collegio Germanico in Rome. Thereafter, virtually all of his medals were produced for his papal employers. According to Forrer, he struck medals for Gregory XIII (1572–85), Sixtus V (1585–90; five variants), Gregory XIV (1590–91; eight variants), Innocent IX (1591; seven variants) and Clement VIII (1592–1605; four variants). As was usually the case with papal commemorative medals, an official portrait of the pontiff was established, coupled with a series of reverses devoted to significant acts or events that occurred during that particular papacy. Such medals were invariably struck and were relatively monotonous and dry in technique and style. Nonetheless, the medals of de’ Bonis do possess certain distinctive qualities. The portraits of Sixtus V, for example, are quite vigorous and capture the gruff features of this former peasant. The medal struck to commemorate the building of the Ponte Felice over the Tiber in the Borghetto section of Rome (...


(b ?Sens, c. 1512; d Verneuil-sur-Oise, c. 1570).

French sculptor. He was one of the foremost French sculptors of the 16th century, along with his contemporary Jean Goujon. He was probably a native of Sens and may have been responsible for the four marble bas-reliefs (c. 1534; Sens, Palais Synodal) illustrating events from the life of Cardinal Duprat, Archbishop of Sens, that once decorated the base of the sarcophagus of the archbishop’s tomb. These share many stylistic characteristics with Bontemps’s documented reliefs decorating the base of the tomb of Francis I (marble, commissioned 1551; in situ) at Saint-Denis Abbey.

Bontemps is first documented in 1536 among the large team of artists and craftsmen working at the château of Fontainebleau under the direction of Francesco Primaticcio on the stucco decoration of the Chambre de la Reine (destr.). He remained associated with this work after 1540, when he established himself in Paris, executing a stone statue of St Barbara...


Franco Panvini Rosati

[Federigo Parmense]

(b Parma, 1508; d after 1586).

Italian medallist and goldsmith. His first signed medal was made in 1549 for Pope Paul III. Bonzagna is documented in 1554 working in the papal mint in Rome with his brother Gian Giacomo Bonzagna (1507–65) and Alessandro Cesati. He worked for the papal mint until 1575, when he prepared a medal for Pope Gregory XIII. He also worked in the mint at Parma, where he engraved the dies for medals of Pier Luigi Farnese, 1st Duke of Parma and Piacenza, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and Ottavio Farnese, 2nd Duke of Parma and Piacenza. Bonzagna also executed medals for Cardinal Federico Cesi and, in 1560, Gian Battista di Collalto. In 1561 Bonzagna worked as a goldsmith with Cesati and Gian Alberto de’ Rossi on a silver-gilt pax for Milan Cathedral. Bonzagna was one of the most prolific medallists of the 16th century. Because many of his medals were unsigned, it is difficult to distinguish his dies from those of Cesati. In some medals the obverse is by Bonzagna and the reverse by another artist. These were produced when several medals were restruck by Mazio in the 19th century. Bonzagna’s work is varied and shows considerable technical accomplishment, but his style is cold and academic....


Kim W. Woods

[Borreman; Borremans]

South Netherlandish family of sculptors. Jan Borman II (fl c. 1479–1520) is first documented in Brussels in 1479, when he joined the guild of sculptors. His father, Jan Borman I, is recorded as deceased in the accounts of the Brussels chamber of rhetoric in 1498. Passchier Borman (fl c. 1491–1537), son of Jan II, became a master of the sculptors’ guild in 1491, and a Jan Borman the younger, presumably Jan III (fl c. 1499–1522) and Passchier’s brother, entered the guild in 1499.

In 1484–6 Jan II was commissioned to supply statues (destr.) for a stone altarpiece made by the Brussels sculptor Peeter Vogel for the parochial altar of Antwerp Cathedral. In 1489 a Jan Borman the elder and his son Jan (almost certainly Jan I and Jan II) stood surety for the bronze-caster Jan van Thienen (fl 1489–c. 1512) in the making of a door (untraced) for the St Pieterskerk, Leuven. Jan II entered the Leuven joiners’ guild in ...


Geneviève Bresc-Bautier

(b c. 1570; d Paris, March 21, 1637).

French sculptor. His father Guillaume Boudin (fl 1567–1614) specialized in carved panelling and furniture decorated in the antique taste. Thomas was apprenticed to Mathieu Jacquet in 1584 and remained with his workshop until 1595. Though he bore the title Sculpteur du Roi from 1606, his court works, including a chimney-piece (wood, 1606) for the Chambre du Roi at the Louvre, Paris, a bas-relief (bronze; destr.) for the pedestal of Pietro Tacca’s equestrian statue of Henry IV erected on the Pont Neuf in 1635, and the chimney-pieces for the Throne Room of the Hôtel de Ville, Paris (1617; destr.), and for the château of Chilly (1632; destr.) are less significant than his religious oeuvre. This includes seven high-reliefs (stone, 1610–12; in situ) around the choir of Chartres Cathedral. Their traditional, vigorously frontal composition, with the figures modelled almost in the round so that they appear to be free-standing against a plain background, is combined with a late Mannerist complication of drapery and hairstyle. Other sculptural decorations, such as the high altar of St Germain-l’Auxerrois (...