Antonio Gentili da Faenza Biography
(b Faenza, 1519; d Rome, 29 Oct 1609). Italian goldsmith. He was the son of Pietro Gentili, a goldsmith. By c. 1549 he was active in Rome and by 1552 he had entered the goldsmiths guild as a master craftsman, holding several offices during his lifetime. His fame enabled him to move in high circles. Records indicate that he executed various works in gold for the Medici, pieces ranging from vases and lamps to keys and bedwarmers. It was for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese that Antonio created his acknowledged masterpiece, consisting of two silver-gilt candlesticks and a cross (1582; Rome, St Peters, Treasury), for which he received 13,000 scudi . The objects, which contain rock-crystal tondi by Giovanni Bernardi and inlay work of lapis lazuli, were then donated by the Cardinal to St Peters. Antonio signed the work yet authorities have often attributed it to Benvenuto Cellini or Michelangelo, among others. Part of the difficulty in identifying Antonios work is the confusion caused by his habit of borrowing motifs from other artists, especially those employing a style similar to that of Michelangelo. This practice was highlighted when the 90-year-old goldsmith testified in an inheritance lawsuit brought by Guglielmo della Portas son, Teodoro della Porta, regarding casts and models missing from his fathers workshop. During testimony Antonio stated that he owned and used casts by Michelangelo and others. His adoption of others designs in his pieces, a common practice among 16th-century goldsmiths, did not hinder his versatility. In 1580 he fashioned a miniature gold bust of the armoured Emperor Augustus on a small agate base (h. 210 mm; Florence, Pitti). In 1584 he became an assayer for the papal mint. Antonio also created a silver book cover for Cardinal Farneses Book of Hours (1600; New York, Pierpont Morgan Lib.). The richly decorated cover portrays the Annunciation bordered by a pattern of cherubim heads and acanthus leaves. Famous in his own day, Antonios influence extended to 18th-century France and England, where the candlesticks in St Peters inspired such figures as Jean-Louis Prieur, Matthew Boulton and Josiah (i) Wedgwood to incorporate elements of Antonios masterpiece in their own works.Grove Art excerpts - Electronic ©2003, Oxford Art Online
Antonio Gentili da Faenza Sold at AuctionView all Antonio Gentili da Faenza Sold at Auction
To see auction price results and more examples of work by Antonio Gentili da Faenza, please click View all Antonio Gentili da Faenza Sold at Auction.