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Pollaiuolo

Pollaiuolo (pōl-läyō-ôˈlō) [key], family of Florentine artists. Jacopo Pollaiuolo was a noted 15th-century goldsmith. His son and pupil Antonio Pollaiuolo, 1429?–1498, goldsmith, sculptor, painter, and engraver, became head of one of the foremost Florentine workshops, with many pupils and assistants. He was a great draftsman and may have been the first artist to study anatomy by dissection. Many of Antonio's paintings were executed in collaboration with his brother Piero. Although greatly influenced by Castagno and Donatello, Antonio developed his own highly dynamic style. He displayed ample skill in his delineation of anatomy and attained a mastery of figures in action by his energetic use of line.

Highly regarded by the Medici, Antonio and his brother painted for them three canvases depicting the Labors of Hercules (lost). Small versions exist of Hercules and the Hydra (Uffizi); a painting and a bronze statuette of Hercules and Antaeus (both: Uffizi); and Hercules and Deianira (Yale Univ.). Other famous canvases are Apollo and Daphne and The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian (National Gall., London); the lively Dancing Nudes (Arcetri); and Tobias and the Angel (Turin). One of Antonio's rare signed engravings, Ten Fighting Nudes, is in the Ufizzi. In 1484 he was summoned with his brother to Rome by Pope Innocent VIII and there executed the bronze tomb of Sixtus IV and the monument to Innocent VIII in St. Peter's.

See C. Seymour, Sculpture in Italy, 1400 to 1500 (1966); L. D. Ettlinger, Antonio and Piero Pollaiuolo (1978).

Piero Pollaiuolo, 1443–96, a painter, was associated with his brother. He is generally considered to be less gifted than his brother, judging by his independent works. They include the Virtues (Uffizi) and Coronation of the Virgin in the Church of Sant' Agostino in San Gimignano.

Their nephew, Simone del Pollaiuolo, 1457–1508, Italian architect, worked chiefly in Florence. After a visit to Rome to study the remains of antiquity, he was nicknamed Il Cronaca [Ital., = chronicle] because of the endless tales he told. His chief monument is the noble Strozzi Palace, which he finished in 1540 after the death of Benedetto da Majano; Cronaca is responsible for the beautiful cornice and the interior courtyard. He also worked on the Great Hall of the Palazzo Vecchio (1495) and the Church of San Salvatore al Monte (1504), admired for its purity of design. He may have worked on the sacristy of Santo Spirito and the Palazzo Guadagni.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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