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Giovanni Battista Cambio, called Bombarda

Emilian, active c. 1540 - 1575

Cambio, Giovanni Battista; Bombarda; Cambi, Giovanni Battista; Cambio, Gambattista; Cambio, Andrea

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The medalist is known as both Andrea or Giovanni Battista in the literature and is referred to as being from Cremona. The last name is also given as Cambi. He was active in Ferrara and Reggio Emilia between 1557 and about 1575. He is mentioned as a notaio e membro (lawyer and member) of the Mint of Reggio Emilia between 1540 and 1548 and as a conductor of the Mint in 1550.

He signed himself BOM or BOMB on seventeen medals, only three of which are dated, two of them 1557 and one 1570. The style of the medals shows both the influence of the conventional contemporary portrait medal by Pastorino and also the work of his coeval medal colleagues at Reggio Emilia. Unlike his colleagues, Cambio was also interested in providing, upon occasion, a reverse type and legend which continues the inscription of the obverse.[1] The mention in the documents that Cambio was a lawyer may suggest that he was a highly skilled, but amateur artist. He was the most prolific of the group of medal makers at Reggio, which does raise the question as to what were the principal employments of the other medalists.

[1] Armand 1883, 1: 215, 7; Pollard 1985, no. 787.

[Published in: John Graham Pollard. Renaissance Medals. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. 2 vols. Washington, 2007]

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