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Adriano Fiorentino

Florentine, c. 1450/1460 - 1499

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Adriano de' Maestri of Florence, called Adriano Fiorentino, was a sculptor and bronze founder. He was possibly a pupil of Bertoldo, for his medals (especially his portrait types) show strongly such influence, and he cast at least one bronze sculpture for Bertoldo.

The signed and attributed works suggest that Adriano was employed in Rome, Naples, Urbino. and Saxony. He was first recorded in the service of Virginio Orsini, with the master engineer Buonaccorso di Vittorio Ghiberti, in 1488. Both apparently had been in the employ of Orsini for two or more years. When Orsini went to Naples in 1488 as commander-in-chief of the Aragonese army, Adriano probably went with him. He was in the service of Ferdinand, prince of Capua, in 1493 and was still in Naples at the death of King Ferdinand I in January 1494. Adriano is next documented in 1495, when the Duchess of Urbino, Elisabetta Gonzaga, sent him to her brother at Mantua with a letter of recommendation; the letter mentioned that the artist had been in Urbino for three months, had made some beautiful medals, and was accomplished as a composer of sonnets, performer on the lyre, and an improvisatore (extempore poet). He is not recorded again until 1499, when he was a witness to a court case in Florence. He is believed to have died there in June of that year.[1]

The surviving sculptures by Adriano include a bust of Frederick the Wise (Albertinum, Dresden) dated 1498; a bust of Pontano (in the Palazzo Bianco, Genoa); a bronze group of Venus and Cupid in Vienna (the Venus by itself is at Philadelphia); a signed figure of Pan; an attributed figure of Hercules; and the bronze group of Bellerophon and Pegasus by Bertoldo (in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna), which was cast by Adriano. The sixteen medals ascribed to Adriano[2] include some pieces with exceptionally beautiful portrait heads that share with the work of Bertoldo a curious inability to place the effigy correctly within the roundel (compare NGA 1957.14.697.a,b with Bertoldo's medal of the Emperor Frederick III, NGA 1957.14.843.a,b) and also an odd mannerism of not giving the truncation sufficient form (cp. the unknown boy, NGA 1957.14.701).

[1] This date conflicts with the supposed date of some of Adriano's medals, as noted by George Francis Hill, A Corpus of the Italian Medals of the Renaissance before Cellini, London, 1930: 83.

[2] A medal of Cristopher Columbus has been attributed to Adriano but is more probably an antiquarian concoction of later date. See the review by Eberhard Ruhmer in Pantheon (1964): 336 of Richard Gaettens, "Christophoro Colombo. His portrait from life sculptured by Guido Mazzoni (d. 1518)," Connoisseur 156 (1964): 174-181.

[This is the artist's biography published in the NGA systematic catalogue of Renaissance medals.]

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