Leone Leoni

(c. 1509—1590)

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(b ?Menaggio, nr. Lake Como, c.1509; d Milan, 22 July 1590).

Italian Mannerist sculptor who worked in many parts of Italy and in the service of the emperor Charles V (see Habsburg) in Germany and the Netherlands. He was trained in goldsmithery, but none of his works in that medium survives. In 1538–40 he worked as a coin engraver in the papal mint, but he was then condemned to the galleys for attacking and maiming the papal jeweller. He was released in 1541 and for most of the rest of his life was master of the imperial mint in Milan. In 1549 and 1556 he visited the imperial court in Brussels and in 1551 the imperial court in Augsburg. Leoni also worked for Charles's son, Philip II of Spain; his own son, PompeoLeoni (b ?Venice, c.1533; d Madrid, 13 Oct. 1608), settled in Spain in 1556 and gave the finishing touches to works his father sent there. The most important commission was a group of fifteen bronze statues (installed 1591) for the high altar of the Escorial, to which Pompeo later added several others. Pompeo also executed several tombs in Spain on his own account, and was, like his father, a goldsmith and medallist. Again like his father, he had a dangerous brush with authority, being briefly imprisoned by the Inquisition for unorthodox views.

Subjects: Art.

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