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Benedetto Antelami (c. 1150 – c. 1230) was an Italian architect and sculptor of the Romanesque school, whose "sculptural style sprang from local north Italian traditions that can be traced back to late antiquity" Little is known about his life. He was probably originally from Lombardy, perhaps born in Val d'Intelvi. It is believed from the Provençal style of his art that he served as apprentice at Saint-Trophime d'Arles. In 1178 he was at work at the Parma Cathedral, where a bas-relief of the Deposition from the Cross. On this work, in the right transept, his name and the date are inscribed. Here, in addition to the Provençal element, can be seen both classical and Byzantine influence.
Later, in 1196, he was working with the sculptural decoration of the Baptistry of Parma, a building of which he was probably also the architect. Here, between 1196 and 1214, he made the lunettes of the three portals: on the outside portraying the Adoration of the Magi, the Last Judgement and an allegory of life, on the inside the Flight into Egypt, the Presentation at the Temple and David playing the harp. Also on the inside can be seen alto-relievo personifications of the months and the seasons. These were probably intended for a portal on the facade of the Duomo, but the work was interrupted by Antelami’s death.
The main west door of the Basilica di San Marco, Venice, is also attributed by some to Antelami or his school, and the current replacement version of the Holy Face of Lucca (the Volto Santo) is ascribed to his circle.
Antelami's works are characteristic for their realism, and strong emotion, within the formalist context of their time.
References and sources
- Moritz Woelk: Benedetto Antelami – Die Werke in Parma und Fidenza. Rhema-Verlag, Münster 1995, ISBN 978-3-930454-01-3
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