Arnolfo di Cambio

(c. 1245—1302)

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(b Colle di Val d'Elsa, nr. Siena, c.1240/5; d Florence, 1302/10).

Italian sculptor and architect. He is first mentioned in 1265 as Nicola Pisano's assistant on the pulpit for Siena Cathedral. In 1277 he is documented in Rome, where he seems to have spent most of the 1280s and 1290s, before settling in Florence in his final years. In Rome he worked in the service of Charles I of Naples and Sicily (Charles of Anjou); his portrait of Charles (c.1280, Capitoline Mus., Rome) was one of the earliest portrait statues since the ancient world. The famous bronze statue of St Peter (c.1290) in St Peter's, Rome, has also been attributed to him. His most important surviving sculpture, however, is the tomb of Cardinal de Braye (d1282), in S. Domenico at Orvieto, which set the type of the wall tomb for more than a century. As an architect, Arnolfo had a great reputation in his day and began the building of Florence Cathedral. No other buildings are documented as being by him, but several other important Florentine buildings, including S. Croce and the Palazzo Vecchio, have been attributed to him, notably by Vasari. If they really are to be credited to Arnolfo, he must rank as one of the greatest architects of the Middle Ages, as well as a distinguished sculptor.

Subjects: Art.

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