Rustici, Giovan Francesco (1474-1554) aggiungi alla cartella

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Giovan Francesco Rustici

Florence, 1474 - Tours, 1554


Florence; France

Biographical information:
Born in Florence in 1474, he frequented the sculpture garden in Piazza San Marco. According to Vasari (1568), in the garden Rustici attracted the attention of Lorenzo il Magnifico who introduced him into the workshop of Andrea Verrocchio. In 1500 he drew up a rental contract for a workshop in Via dei Servi and started up business on his own.
The first documented work is the Cenotaph of Giovanni Boccaccio in the church of Santi Jacopo e Filippo in Certaldo, commissioned in 1503 by Lattanzio Tedaldi, representative of the Florentine Republic. This was followed by the tondo portraying the Madonna and Child with the Young Saint John for the headquarters of the Arte di Por Santa Maria, or Silk Guild (Florence, Bargello National Museum). Both these works are in marble, a material that Rustici rarely used, preferring bronze and terracotta.
In 1506 the Arte di Mercanzia, the Merchants’ Guild, commissioned from Rustici the Sermon of John the Baptist with the Pharisee and the Levite, a bronze group set above the north door of the Baptistery. This work is extensively inspired by Leonardo, who - according to Vasari - was a welcome and assiduous visitor as Rustici was working on the group. Giovan Francesco was certainly well acquainted with Leonardo, with whom he appears to have enjoyed profitable relations of reciprocal esteem, even though Rustici was eleven years younger. Given the age difference, it does not appear plausible that the two frequented Verrocchio’s workshop in the same years, but they were both guests of Pietro Martelli between 1507 and 1508. Several Battle scenes on horsebackin terracotta (now divided between the museums of the Louvre and the Bargello) are the direct results of Giovan Francesco’s studies of the cartoon of the Battle of Anghiari and the unfinished portion of mural painting on the wall of the Salone del Gran Consiglio in Palazzo Vecchio at the time of Leonardo’s departure.
Between 1505 and 1510 he executed the terracottas of the Noli me tangere and the Saint Augustine, that were subsequently glazed by Giovanni della Robbia for the nuns of Camporeggi.
In 1515 he collaborated on the scenic decorations set up for the entrance of Leo X into Florence. On the occasion of the official visit of the Medici Pope, Rustici’s work was noted and appreciated by his cousin, Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici, who asked him to take part in the programme for the decoration of the courtyard and garden of Palazzo Medici, which the family had repossessed after their return from exile in 1512. Giulio asked Rustici to create a terracotta copy - which was never actually made - of Donatello’s David which had never been returned to the Via Larga residence after 1495, and a bronze Mercury (Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum) to crown the fountain that was still in the garden.
In 1526 he created terracotta tondi with mythological scenes for the villa of Jacopo Salviati at Ponte alla Badia in the environs of Florence.
A bizarre and original character, Rustici frequented the Company of the Saucepan and the Company of the Trowel, jolly and boisterous companies whose members also included artists such as Andrea del Sarto, who amused themselves by organising fantastic banquets with the most extravagant flair and imagination, frequently held in Rustici’s own house.
When the Medici were driven out again in 1527, Rustici left Florence (1528) and went to France to the court of Francis I. The king commissioned from him a magnificent equestrian monument that was never made. When Francis I died, Giovan Francesco remained under the protection of Pietro Strozzi. He died in Tours in 1554.

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