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Renaissance in Naples, Rome, Milan, and Venice

A development of taste coincident with that noticeable in Tuscany took place at Naples, Rome, Milan, and Venice. At Naples, the torch that was lit by Massuccio was handed on by Andrea Ciccione, Bamboccio, Monaco, and Amillo Fiore.

Arabesques
Arabesques
designed by
Baccio Pintelli,
Church of Sant
Agostino, Rome

Arabesques
Arabesques
designed by
Baccio Pintelli,
Church of Sant
Agostino, Rome

At Rome, the opulence of the princes, and the great works undertaken by the successive pontiffs, attracted to the Imperial city the highest procurable ability; and hence it is, that in the various palaces and churches fragments of exquisite decorative sculpture are still to be met with. Bramante, Baldassare Peruzzi, and Baccio Pintelli (of whom arabesques on the interior of the Church of Sant. Agostino, one of the earliest buildings of the pure revival executed in the Imperial, our woodcuts give some elegant examples), and even the great Raphael himself did not disdain to design ornaments for carvers, of the purest taste and most exquisite fancy. Of the perfection attained in this department of art by the last-named artist, the celebrated wooden stalls of the choir of San Pietro dei Casinensi, at Perugia, will long remain unquestionable evidence. The carrying out of these carvings by Stefano da Bergamo does full justice to the admirable compositions of Raphael.

At Milan, the important works of the Duomo, and the Certosa at Pavia, created a truly remarkable school of art; among the most celebrated masters of which may be noticed, Fusina, Solari, Agrati, Amadeo, and Sacchi. The sculptor's talent had long been traditional in that locality, and there can be no doubt that these artists embodied in the highest forms the lingering traditions of the Maestri Comatschi, or Freemasons, of Como; from whose genius many of the most celebrated buildings of the middle ages derived their highest graces of adornment. Of all the Lombard Cinque-centists, however, the highest admiration must be reserved for Agostino Busti, better known as Bambaja, and his pupil Brambilla, whose exquisite works in arabesque at the Certosa must ever remain marvels of execution. Our woodcuts, selected from the Piscina of the High Altar, furnish some idea of the general style of the Pavian arabesques.

At Venice, the first great names which call for notice are those of the Lombardi (Pietro, Tullio, Giulio, Sante, and Antonio), through whose talents that city was adorned with its most famous monu- ments. They were followed by Riccio, Bernardo, and Domenico di Mantua, and many other sculptors; but their lesser glories are altogether eclipsed by those of the great Jacopo Sansovino. At Lucca, Matteo Civitale (born 1435, died 1501) fully maintained the reputation of the period.

Panel from the Piscina of the High Altar of the Certosa, Pavia.
Panel from the Piscina of the High Altar of the Certosa, Pavia.

Returning to Tuscany, from here, we find, towards the close of the fifteenth century, the greatest perfection of ornamental sculpture, the leading characteristic of which, however, we now no longer find to be the sedulous and simple imitation of nature, but rather a conventional rendering of the antique. The names of Mino de Fiesole the greatest of the celebrated school of the Fiesolani-Benedetto da Majano, and Bernardo Rossellini, bring to our recollection many exquisite monuments which abound in the churches of Florence, and the other principal towns of the Grand Duchy.

Panels from the Piscine of the High Altar of the Certosa, Pavia
Panels from the Piscine of the High Altar of the Certosa, Pavia.

These artists excelled alike in wood, in stone, and in marble, and their works have been surpassed in this style of art only by those of their predecessors we have already named, and by some few others, their contemporaries. Of these, Andrea Contucci, better known as the elder Sansovino, was preeminent in his art; and it would appear impossible to carry ornamental modelling to greater perfection than he has exhibited in the wonderful monuments which form the pride of the Church of Sta. Maria del Popolo, at Rome. His pupil, Jacopo Tatti, who subsequently took his master's name, may be regarded as his only rival. Of him, however, more hereafter.









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