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Arnolfo
di Cambio

1245−1300-th
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Italian sculptor and architect. Disciple and assistant Niccolo Pisano (in the work on the shrine of St. Dominic in the Church of San Domenico in Bologna, 1264-1267, and the cathedral pulpit in Siena, 1265-1268), took from him an interest in the ancient heritage, endowed his sculptures with monumental plasticity, bodily relics (tomb of Cardinal de Breuil in the Church of San Domenico in Orvieto, marble, circa 1282).
Arnolfo di Cambio, like the artist of the Roman school Pietro Cavallini, was, on a par with Niccolo Pisano, the true creator of proto-Renaissance art and in many ways the ideological predecessor of the great Giotto. Better known as the architect - the first creator of the design of the facade of the Florentine Cathedral and the builder of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Arnolfo di Cambio was also a sculptor - a student of Niccolo Pisano. It is possible that he was familiar with the images of Greek sculpture of the 5th century BC, since, unlike his teacher, who relied on late Roman traditions, Arnolfo, like no other master of his day, adopted the spirit and artistic tradition of Greek art.
The master's best works include decorative figures for a fountain for the town square in Perugia. This fountain, on the creation of which, in addition to Arnolfo, Niccolo and Giovanni Pisano and the architect Fra Bevegnato worked, consisted of two multifaceted in outlines, located one above the other, to decorate which twenty-four statues and fifty reliefs were sculptured. The ratio of the pools, sustained in a complex rhythm, is one of the main advantages of this piece. The twenty-five sides of the lower basin are decorated only with reliefs; on the twenty-three edges of the upper basin, only statues are fortified. From the bronze vase of the upper pool, a gushing stream emerges, flowing around its edges and falling through the open lion's mouth into the lower one.
The fragments of the reliefs of this fountain belonging to Arnolfo, kept in the museum in Perugia, are reclining figures, given in complex turns and in a richness of movement that was striking for that time. The folds of the garments accentuate the body shapes, rendered with a purely material feel and vitality. Among the works of the Roman period, the tombstone of Cardinal Guillaume de Brauil in the church of San Domenico in Orvieto, created by Arnolfo together with his students, and which is one of the prototypes of the numerous wall tombs of the Italian Renaissance, should be distinguished. Executed in a monumental and decorative manner, it is distinguished by great realism in the depiction of the figure of the deceased and two deacons pulling back the curtains. These statues belong to Arnolfo himself.
From 1284 until his death, the sculptor Arnolfo di Cambio spends in Florence, where he works as one of the greatest masters of Ducento, whose art delays for a certain time the wave of Gothic reaction, which was already fully manifested in the work of Giovanni Pisano and other masters of the 13-14 centuries ... In Florence, Arnolfo executed (apparently for the Church of Santa Croce) the relief "Annunciation" and the remarkable sculptural group "Lamentation by John Mary" (Berlin) intended for the right portal of the Florence Cathedral. Vividly expressing the ideas of the Proto-Renaissance in sculpture, in architecture Arnolfo di Cambio acted as a typical representative of Italian Gothic (the Church of Santa Croce and Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, begun at the end of the 13th century). In 1296, Arnolfo di Cambio began building the city's cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore, in Florence.

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