Bartolommeo Bandinelli

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Bartolommeo (or Baccio) Bandinelli, actually Bartolommeo Brandini (17 October 1493 – shortly before 7 February 1560[1]), was a Renaissance Italian sculptor, draughtsman and painter.[2]



Bandinelli was the son of a prominent Florentine goldsmith,[3] and first apprenticed in his shop. As a boy, he was apprenticed under Giovanni Francesco Rustici, a sculptor friend of Leonardo da Vinci. Among his earliest works was a Saint Jerome in wax, made for Giuliano de' Medici, identified as Bandinelli's by John Pope-Hennessy

Giorgio Vasari, a former pupil in Bandinelli's workshop, claimed Bandinelli was driven by jealousy of Benvenuto Cellini and Michelangelo; and recounts that:

(When) the cartoon of Michelangelo in the Council Hall ("Battle of Cascina" at Palazzo Vecchio)[1] was uncovered, and all the artists ran to copy it, and Baccio (most frequently) among (them),... having counterfeited the key of the chamber. In... 1512, Piero Soderini was deposed and the... Medici reinstated. In the tumult, therefore, Baccio, being by himself, secretly cut the cartoon into several pieces. Some said he did it that he might have a piece of the cartoon always near him, and others that he wanted to prevent other youths from making use of it; others again say that he did it out of affection for Leonardo da Vinci, or from the hatred he bore to Michael Angelo. The loss anyhow to the city was no small one, and Baccio's fault very great.

Bandinelli's lifelong obsession with Michelangelo is a recurring theme in assessments of his career.[4]

Bandinelli was a leader in the group of Florentine Mannerists who were inspired by the revived interest in Donatello attendant on the installation of Donatello's bas-relief panels for the pulpit in San Lorenzo, 1515. The artist presented his relief of the Deposition to Charles V at Genoa in 1529; though the relief has been lost, a bronze from it by Antonio Susini in 1600 (Musée du Louvre) shows the decisive inspiration of Donatello's emotional pitch and intensity;[5] Bandinelli made several drawings of the Donatello reliefs, though later in life he disparaged them in a letter to Cosimo I de' Medici.[6]

His sculptures have never inspired the admiration given those of Michelangelo, specially the colossal (5.05 m) marble group of Hercules and Cacus (completed in 1534) in the Piazza della Signoria, Florence, and Adam and Eve in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, which both stand within sight of some of Michelangelo's masterworks. Vasari said of him "He did nothing but make bozzetti and finished little", and modern commentators have remarked on the vitality of Bandinelli's terracotta models contrasted with the finished marbles: "all the freshness of his first approach to a subject was lost in the laborious execution in marble... A brilliant draughtsman and excellent small-scale sculptor, he had a morbid fascination for colossi which he was ill-equipped to execute. His failure as a sculptor on a grand scale was accentuated by his desire to imitate Michelangelo."[7]

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