The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House

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Severo Calzetta da Ravenna (c. 1465/75 - before 1538)
Works of Art

As his popular name suggests, Severo Calzetta came from Ravenna, where he appears to have spent most of his career. He may have trained in the Venetian workshop of the Lombardo, but by 1500 was working in Padua, where in 1500-01 he made and signed a large marble statue of Saint John the Baptist, for the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua (the Santo). In his treatise De Sculptura, published in 1504, the humanist Pomponius Gauricus reserved special praise for Severo, describing him as proficient in bronze, marble and wood sculpture. When Padua was invaded by the forces of the League of Cambrai in 1509, Severo seems to have left the city to return to his native Ravenna, where he spent the rest of his life. He made a small number of unique autograph bronzes of very high quality early in his career, such as the Saint John the Baptist in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. However, Severo also developed, probably after his return to Ravenna, one of the most prolific and successful bronze foundries of the first half of the sixteenth century. Severo's artistic personality has only been reconstructed in recent years. In particular, many bronzes previously attributed to the great Paduan sculptor and maker of bronzes Andrea Briosco (Riccio, 1470 - 1532) are now recognised as characteristic products of his workshop. These bronzes continued to be produced by Severo’s son Niccolò well into the second half of the century, but becoming steadily more debased in quality.