When we think of terracotta sculpture from northern Italy, the first works that come to mind are the impressive Paduan Lamentation groups, especially the masterpieces of Guido Mazzoni and Niccolò dell’Arca. The name of Giovanni de Fondulis is certainly not among the most well-known, neither among specialists, nor among the general public. After all, his name was only rediscovered in 2006 and his artistic personality was not outlined until an exhibition two years ago. Yet he was, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the major sculptors active in Lombardy and the Veneto. His role is comparable to that of the better-known Pietro Lombardo, Bartolomeo Bellano and Antonio Rizzo. This lecture will offer a reconstruction of the cultural context in which he operated, pieced together from documents and from his surviving works (whether in churches or dispersed through European and American collections), as well as from records of his lost works. It will consider the relationships, artistic development and the biography of an artist who was able to conjure together the eccentric, foliate styles of late gothic Lombardy with the pleasing inventions that Donatello brought to Padua, as he carried Paduan terracotta sculpture towards the novelties of the sixteenth century.
Marco Scansani is a Research Fellow at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa on a project dedicated to cataloguing the Renaissance bronzetti in the Museo del Bargello in Florence. He took his Master’s degree from the University of Bologna with a thesis on the sculptor and medallist Sperandio Savelli and was subsequently awarded his doctorate at the Scuola Normale in Pisa with a project on the sculptor Giovanni de Fondulis. His research interests are primarily focussed on the history of Renaissance sculpture in northern Italy, in relation to which he has published various articles and book chapters, as well as made several contributions to exhibitions and conferences.
Organised by Dr Scott Nethersole (The Courtauld) and Dr Guido Rebecchini (The Courtauld).