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Vettor Gambello, called Camelio

Venetian, 1455/1460 - 1537

Camelio; Gambello, Vittore

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Vettor di Antonio Gambello, known as Camelio, was a son of Antonio da San Zaccaria (NGA 1957.14.729.a,b) and was active as a medalist, die-engraver, bronze sculptor, armorer, and jeweler. He is first mentioned in 1484 as the master of the dies of the Venetian Mint, where he worked until 1530. He may have visited Rome for the production of a portrait medal of Pope Sixtus IV (NGA 1957.14.738.a,b) although one other papal commission, a medal of Pope Julius II (Hill 1930, no. 445) dated 1506, also was struck in Venice. As early as 1487, Camelio was described as sumo maestro in quest'arte (a highest master of this art) and his salary was raised. In the financial crisis of 1506, however, his salary was lowered in common with those of other officials.

Camelio eventually left for Rome in 1510. He may still have been in Rome in 1513 if the medal of Giuliano de' Medici (NGA 1957.14.747.a,b) is properly ascribed to him . On 24 June 1515, Camelio was appointed for life as engraver to the Papal Mint, in association with Pier Maria della Pescia. In 1516, however, he returned to his post in Venice. An assistant to him was appointed in 1526.

The reverse types of his self-portrait medals (NGA 1957.14.741.a,b and NGA 1957.14.743.a,b) are entirely original. Although engraver and antiquarian Enea Vico (1523-1567) listed Camelio as among those famous for the reproduction of Roman coins,[1] he never descended to the slavish imitation of ancient Roman coin types. Camelio was an early experimenter with the striking of medals, and he shows remarkable technical skill and admirable originality. Along with Enzola of Parma, Camelio was a pioneer of this technique in Italy.[2]

Camelio also signed one plaquette, an example of which is in the NGA collection (NGA 1957.14.246).

[1] "Nell'imitatione...facendo nuovi cogni di acciaio, nel'eta mia sono stati eccelenti, Vettor Gambello..:" Eneas Vico, Discorsi Sopra le Medaglie de Gli Antichi, Venice, 1555, chapter 23, 67.

[2] N. Adams, "New Information About the Screw Press as a Device for Minting Coins: Bramante, Cellini and Baldassare Peuzzi," Museum Notes (American Numismatic Society) 23 (1978): 201-206.

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

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