The Wallace Collection

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Antonio Lombardo (c. 1458 - 1516)
Works of Art

One of the greatest interpreters of the classicizing style of the late 15th -early 16th century in Northern Italy, the exact date and place of birth of Antonio Lombardo remain unknown. The first documented reference dates to 1475, when Antonio is mentioned with his brother Tullio as working in the workshop of their father Pietro in Venice. The next reference is found in Pomponius Gauricus’s De Sculptura at the beginning of the 16th century and relates to Antonio’s most important commission, for the sculptures in the Zen Chapel in San Marco in Venice in 1504 - 1506. Partly due to the competition with Tullio within the workshop, in 1506 Antonio left Venice for Ferrara where he became court sculptor to Alfonso I d’Este. Nevertheless, his contacts with Venice and the paternal workshop remained constant. Throughout their early career, the two brothers kept influencing each other and their works are often difficult to distinguish. It seems likely that the two brothers travelled to Rome around 1490, possibly as part of their work on the funerary monument of Doge Vendramin. Their work from the following years clearly reflects a more direct contact with classical sculpture and architecture. Antonio’s approach, however, seems to have been less abstracted, idealised and formally strict than that of his brother. Also, Antonio seems to incorporate current tendencies into his style, allowing therefore for a freer reinterpretation of the antique models through the lesson of the Renaissance.