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Bertoldo di Giovanni

(c. 1430—1491)

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(b ?Florence, c.1430; d Poggio a Caiano, nr. Florence, 28 Dec. 1491).

Florentine sculptor. He was a fairly minor talent, but he is remembered for three things. First, he was the pupil and assistant of Donatello and briefly the teacher or mentor of Michelangelo, thus forming a link between the greatest Italian sculptors of the 15th and 16th centuries. Secondly (and relatedly), he was the ‘guide and chief’ (Vasari) of the informal art academy that Lorenzo the Magnificent maintained in the Medici garden near S. Marco (it was there that he knew Michelangelo). Thirdly, he developed a new type of sculpture—the small-scale bronze, intended, like the cabinet picture, for the private collector. Bertoldo was responsible for completing two pulpits in S. Lorenzo left unfinished by Donatello at his death. His own most noteworthy work is a bronze relief of a battle scene (c.1480, Bargello, Florence), which inspired one of Michelangelo's first works, the Battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs (c.1491, Casa Buonarroti, Florence). Bertoldo was also one of the leading portrait medallists of his time.

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