Franciscus Italus

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(fl c. 1502–16; d Kraków, 16 Oct 1516). Italian architect and sculptor, active in Poland. Franciscus Italus, who has been incorrectly identified as Francesco della Lora, joined the court in Kraków of Prince Sigismund (later Sigismund I; see Jagiellon, (2)), whom he had probably met in Hungary, in 1502. His first work, which was also the earliest Renaissance work in Poland, was the tomb (1502–5) of King John I Albert (d 1501) in Wawel Cathedral, Kraków. This work was related to the Florentine type of arcaded wall tomb. Bas-relief arabesques, which cover even the architectural articulation of the tomb, derive from the early Renaissance decorations by Ambrogio d’Antonio Barocci (fl c. 1471; d after 1520) in the palace in Urbino. Related in style are the decorative bow window and window of the west wing of Wawel Castle in Kraków, executed by Franciscus in 1504–6. In connection with the rebuilding of the castle following the accession of Sigismund I (1506), Franciscus travelled to Buda in Hungary (1507 and 1510) to engage Italian and German workmen for his workshop. Consequently, the north wing (1507–16) of the castle exhibits combined Gothic and Renaissance features. The question of whether the present three-storey arcades can be identified with those added to the wing at this time remains open; their forms resemble the style of Bartolomeo Berrecci, Franciscus's successor on the project, but they are less developed and more decorative.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.