Giovanni di Balduccio

Giovanni di Balduccio
Giovanni di Balduccio was born in Pisa, c. 1290. It is believed di Balduccio died in Milan c. 1349, although no evidence has been found of his exact date of death. His first documented work is as an apprentice at Pisa Cathedral, c. 1317-1318, where it is believed he may have worked directly with the famous sculptors Nicola Pisano and Giovanni Pisano. di Balduccio is credited with spreading the Gothic sculpting style of the Pisano family throughout the Lombardy artistic community of his time, although his style does not show the expressiveness or power of either Nicola or Giovanni Pisano's work.

di Balduccio has four authenticated works that make up his legacy: In San Francesco, Sarzana, the tomb of Guarniero degli Antelminelli, c. 1327-8; in San Maria del Prato, in San Casiano, near Florence, the pulpit; in Sant Eustorgio, Milan, the shrine of St Peter, Martyr, c. 1339, and from the main portal in Santa Maria de Brera, Milan, the Architrave, c. 1347. Another work, unsigned, has been attributed to him in Ciel d'Oro, Pavia, the Shrine of St. Augustine, c. 1350's.

His style shows the influence of not o­nly the Pisano legacy, but Tuscan Gothic elements as well, and has traces of such Sienese masters as Tino di Camaino and Gano di Fazio. His mannered figures, all based o­n his perception of the Christian faith, are fluid and evoke emotion from the viewer. The work scholars consider his finest, the shrine of St Peter, Martyr, improved o­n Nicola Pisano's style o­n which it was modeled by adding a Gothic tabernacle o­n the lid.

Although his work is a small body, the elements he introduced and style he achieved are worth noting. Perhaps his greatest legacy is the enduring beauty of the pieces he created, and their influence o­n his contemporary sculptors.