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Giovan Federico Bonzagni

Parmese, after 1507 - 1588

Bonzagna, Gian Federigo; Bonzagni, Gian Federigo; Federigo Parmese

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Giovan Federico was a son of the goldsmith Giovan Francesco Bonzagni and was born at Parma sometime after 1507, the year of the birth of his elder brother Giovan Giacomo.[1] No work in Parma is known and the earliest works of Giovan Federico are his signed medals for Pope Paul III of 1548-1549. The date of his arrival in Rome is not known and the first payment to him is recorded only in 1554 when he was assisting his brother Giovan Giacomo who was also working for Paul III making jewelry and silver figures. In 1561 Giovan Federico was paid for die making with Cesati and Giovanni Antonio de' Rossi. The medals for the papal court by Giovan Federico are documented until an issue for the Jubilee of 1575. Armand lists fifty-three medals as being by, or attributable to, Giovan Federico, and beside this extensive papal series, Bonzagni made medals of Cardinal Cesi, Conte Collalto, and members of the Este and Farnese families.[2] According to Vico, Bonzagni made reproductions of ancient Roman coins, although none has been identified as his work.[3]

A signed cameo by Bonzagni of the infant Hercules strangling snakes is recorded[4] and Bonzagni's work as a silver smith is recorded in a collaboration with Cesati and Giovanni Antonio de' Rossi in making a silver-gilt pax for the cathedral of Milan.[5] Plaquettes are no longer attributed to him.[6]

[1] Bulgari 1958, 1: 190.

[2] A range of medals is conveniently recorded in Panvini Rosati 1968, nos. 109-131; and Johnson and Martini 1988, 2: 93-144, nos. 901-1073..

[3] Enea Vico, Discorsi sopra le medaglie de gli antichi (Venice 1555), 67.

[4] Burlington Fine Arts Club 1913, 140, no. II, pl. 69 (signed , from the T.W. Greene Collection).

[5] Luca Beltrami, L'Arte negli arredi sacri della Lombardia (Milan, 1897), 39, pl. 43.

[6] Lewis, forthcoming, nos. 492-493 (1942.9.220-221), now given to Pellegrino Tibaldi.

[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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