Antonio Rossellino - Encyclopedia


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ANTONIO ROSSELLINO (142z - c. 1479), Florentine sculptor, was the son of Matteo di Domenico Gamberelli, and had four brothers, who all practised some branch of the fine arts. Almost nothing is known about the life of Antonio, but many of his works exist, and are full of religious sentiment, and executed with the utmost delicacy of touch and technical skill. The style of Antonio and his brother Bernardo is a development of that of Donatello and Ghiberti; it possesses all the refinement and sweetness of the earlier masters, but is not equal to them in vigour or originality. Antonio's chief work, still in perfect preservation, is the lovely tomb of a young cardinal prince of Portugal, who died in 1459. It occupies one side of a small chapel, also built by Rossellino, on the north of the nave of San Miniato al Monte. 1 The recumbent effigy of the cardinal rests on a handsome sarcophagus, and over it, under the arch which frames the whole, is a beautiful relief of the Madonna between two flying angels. The tomb was begun in 1461 and finished in 1466; Antonio received four hundred and twenty-five gold florins for it. A reproduction of this tomb with slight Marble Relief by Antonio Rossellino.

alterations, and of course a different effigy, was made by Antonio for the wife of Antonio Piccolomini, duke of Amalfi, in the 1 Illustrated by Gonnelli, Mon. Sepol. della Tosca,ta (Florence, 1819), pl. xxiii.

church of S. Maria del Monte at Naples, where it still exists. For the same church he also executed some delicate reliefs, which perhaps err in being too pictorial in style, especially in the treatment of the backgrounds. A fine medallion relief by him in marble, originally modelled in terra-cotta, is preserved in the Bargello at Florence (see fig.).

Bernardo Rossellino (1409-1464), Florentine sculptor, was no less able than his younger brother Antonio. His finest piece of sculpture is the tomb, in the Florentine Santa Croce, of Leonardo Bruni of Arezzo, the historian of Florence, executed in 1443 some years after Bruni's death; the recumbent effigy is of great merit. The inner cathedral pulpit at Prato, circular in form on a tall slender stem, was partly the work of Mino da Fiesole and partly by Bernardo Rossellino. The latter executed the minute reliefs of St Stephen and the Assumption of the Virgin. For his part in the work he received sixty-six gold florins. The South Kensington Museum possesses a relief by Bernardo, signed and dated (1456). It is a fine portrait of the physician Giovanni da S. Miniato. Bernardo's works as an architect were numerous and important, and he was also a skilful military engineer. He restored the church of S. Francis at Assisi, and designed several fine buildings at Civita Vecchia, Orvieto and elsewhere. He also built fortresses and city walls at Spoleto, Orvieto and Civita Castellana. He was largely employed by Nicholas V. and Pius II. for restorations in nearly all the great basilicas of Rome, but little trace of his work remains, owing to the sweeping alterations made during the 17th and 18th centuries. Between the years 1461 and 1464 (when he died while engaged on the Lazzari monument at Pistoia) he occupied the important post of capo-maestro to the Florentine duomo. A number of buildings at Pienza, executed for Pius II., are attributed to him; the Vatican registers mention the architect of these as M° Bernardo di Fiorenza, but this indication is too slight to make it certain that the elder Rossellino is referred to (see Vasari, ed. Milanesi, iii. 93 seq.).

See Wilhelm Bode, Die Italienische Plastik (Berlin, 1902).

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