Giovanni di Balduccio
Biography of italian Gothic Sculptor, Tomb of Guarniero degli Antelminelli, Shrine of St Peter Martyr.

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Relief of Saint Peter Martyr and Three
Donors (c.1340) (Cloisters Collection)

Giovanni di Balduccio (c.1290-1349)

Italian Gothic sculptor of the medieval period, Giovanni di Balduccio worked in 14th century Italy. Very little is known of his life, and we only have four signed works on which to base our opinion of his sculpture. He is mainly credited for spreading the Pisano style of Gothic sculpture, initiated by Nicola Pisano (1206-78) and his son Giovanni Pisano (1250-1314).

Early Life

Born in Pisa, it has been suggested that di Balduccio was the son of the painter Bartolomeo di Vanni. Very little is known about di Balduccio's life, but he is first documented as working on Pisa Cathedral as an apprentice - perhaps working with the famous sculptor Giovanni Pisano directly.

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MEDIEVAL ART
Medieval Sculpture (c.400-1000)
From Late Antiquity to Romanesque
Medieval Artists
Painters/sculptors (1000-1400)
German Gothic Sculpture
Strasbourg, Bamberg Cathedrals
English Gothic Sculpture
Wells, Westminster Cathedrals
See also: Gothic Architecture.

Sculptures by Giovanni di Balduccio

The only signed and authenticated works by di Balduccio which art historians have to form their opinions, are: the tomb of Guarniero degli Antelminelli (c.1327-8) in San Francesco, Sarzana; the pulpit in San Maria del Prato in San Casciano, near Florence; the shrine of St Peter Martyr (1339) in Sant Eustorgio, Milan; and the Architrave (1347) from the main portal of Santa Maria di Brera, Milan (fragments in Castello Sforzesco, Milan).

Note About Sculpture Appreciation
To learn how to judge artists like the Italian Gothic sculptor Giovanni di Balduccio, see: How to Appreciate Sculpture. For later works, please see: How to Appreciate Modern Sculpture.

His mannered modelling style shows close influences of Giovanni Pisano, but does not have the powerful expressiveness of the latter’s figures. However, di Balduccio is credited with introducing the Gothic art of both Giovanni and Nicola into the Lombardy artistic community. Di Balduccio’s work also shows Tuscan Gothic influences, similar to those of the Sienese sculptors Gano di Fazio and Tino di Camaino.

The Shrine of St Augustine in San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro, Pavia, is also sometimes attributed to Di Balduccio, although the shrine dates from the 1350s, after his known period of activity. It is believed di Balduccio died around 1349 while working in Milan. A marble relief sculpture, attributed to him (Saint Peter Martyr and Three Donors, c.1340) can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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