The Wallace Collection

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Vincenzo Danti (1530 - 1576)
  • Place of Birth: Perugia
  • Place of Death: Perugia
Biography
Works of Art

Like his hero, Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), Vincenzo Danti was a precocious talent and worked not only as sculptor, painter and architect but was also a poet and arts theorist. A much-admired artist in his own time, his name has been for centuries neglected, partially because of the contemporary ascent of Giambologna whose fame would completely obscure Danti’s. However strong the influence of Michelangelo, Vincenzo should not be dismissed as a mere follower of the great master as his work, both in marble and bronze, in large and small scale, demonstrates an independent spirit and an eclectic approach. Born in Perugia, then under the control of the Church, in 1530, Vincenzo trained first within his father’s goldsmith’s workshop. He was subsequently in Rome before moving back to his town where he entered the goldsmiths’ guild. There in 1553– 1555 he executed a splendid bronze figure of Julius III for the pope’s monument in the cathedral, a work which granted him a call from Grand Duke Cosimo I of Florence to work for him in 1557. In Florence, Vincenzo encountered many failures with his first great commission for a large bronze group of Hercules and Antaeus and, as a result, throughout the 1560s he focused on marble sculpture instead. However, the faultless casting of the Julius III monument was not an isolated success: in 1569-1571 he finally executed a monumental group with St John the Baptist for the Florentine Baptistry, completing once more a fusion so perfect that virtually no afterwork was needed. In 1573 Vincenzo returned to Perugia, partly for personal reasons, partly perhaps due to the predominant role by then given to Giambologna and his workshop. He died in Perugia only three years later.