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Antico: The Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes

Antico: The Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes


This publication will be the only available English-language monograph to date on sixteenth-century sculptor Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi (c. 1455–1528), who earned the nickname 'Antico' with his highly refined reductions of Greco-Roman antiquities. His bronzes – many of which were produced at the brilliant court of Isabella d'Este at Mantua – were remarkable for being meticulously cast and finely cleaned and finished, designed for close appreciation in the privacy of a courtly studiolo. His black patination and exquisite detailing, such as gilded hair and silver-inlaid eyes, are characteristic.


 Given Antico's importance for the history of sculpture this book is a much needed resource in the field, presenting new scientific research and the results of technical studies undertaken at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. A series of essays places Antico's life, work and technique in a contextual framework useful for understanding his body of work. In addition to providing an overviewof the artist's career, the catalogue will also address key topics from his workmanship and craft to his relationship with the court of Mantua.


Eleonora Luciano, associate curator of sculpture at the National Gallery of Art provides a biography of the artist; Claudia Kryza-Gersch, curator of Italian sculpture at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, discusses Antico as a 'Pioneer of Renaissance sculpture'; Stephen Campbell, professor of the Department of Art History at John Hopkins University, writes about 'Antico and Humanism at the Court of Mantua'; Davide Gasparotto, curator at the Galleria Nazionale di Parma, considers Antico's portraiture; Denise Allen, curator at the Frick Collection, New York, writes about 'Materials, Workmanship and Meaning' in the artist's work.


Two appendices present new scientific work: Shelley Sturman and Dylan Smith, both conservators at the National Gallery of Art, explore the technology of Antico's bronzes, and Richard Stone, conservator emeritus at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, examines Antico's patinas.

  • Eleonora Luciano, Claudia Kryza-Gersch et al.

    Eleonora Luciano, Claudia Kryza-Gersch, Stephen Campbell et al.


    November 2011

    210 pages, hardback

    279 x 197 mm, 163 colour illustrations
    ISBN: 978 1 907372 27 8

  • Exhibition

    National Gallery of Art, Washington

    6 November 2011 – 8 April 2012


    The Frick Collection

    1 May – 29 July 2012

  • In the press

    "This exhibition, with its excellent accompanying monograph, restores Antico to his rightful place at a tipping point in Renaissance art." —Apollo


    "Superb exhibition … accompanied by a splendid catalog … deeply absorbing." —Wall Street Journal 


    "Exquisite" —New York Review of Books


    "One of the most skilled and innovative sculptors of the early Italian Renaissance." —New York Times ​​​​​​​

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