Il Riccio


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(b Trento, Apr. 1470; d Padua, 8 July 1532).

Italian sculptor, born at Trento, and active in and around Padua; his nickname means ‘curly head’. He was trained as a goldsmith by his father, but he turned to sculpture and studied with Bartolommeo Bellano (c.1440–96/7), who is said to have been one of Donatello's assistants. Although he worked in terracotta, Riccio was primarily a virtuoso in bronze and his masterpiece is the huge (nearly 4 m (13 ft) high) Easter candlestick (1507–16) in the Santo (S. Antonio) at Padua, which with its relief scenes of classically draped figures, its satyrs, sphinxes, and decorative conceits, is an endlessly inventive work. He is best known, however, for small bronze pieces, including statuettes and items such as inkstands and oil lamps. They are done in an antique manner and greatly appealed to humanist circles in Padua and Venice (he was on friendly terms with leading scholars). Riccio was much imitated, but works from his own hand are distinguished by a vivacity and delicacy of surface that none of his rivals could match.

Subjects: Art.

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