Giovanni Paolo (or Giovanpaolo), son of Nicolò Negroli and active between 1525 and 1565, was a leading member of a multi-branching dynasty of armorers who specialized in the production of deluxe armors in the antique style (alla romana) in sixteenth-century Milan. The Negroli, whose earlier members had the family name Barini, dominated the great period of Italian armor production from 1530 to 1590.
Giovanni Paolo and his four brothers were second cousins of Filippo Negroli (recorded works 1532-1545), who was evidently the head and chief creative spirit of the dynasty. Filippo's influence is apparent in the ornament of works assigned to Giovanni Poalo. The latter is first documented as active in 1525, in collaboration with his father, his uncle Andrea, and three of his brothers, on a suite of armor for France I of France. He headed the list of armorers in Milan compiled between 1550 and 1557 (Filippo's absence on that list suggests he had died by that time). Giovanni Paolo was still living in 1565, when he owned an interest in a ship at Genoa. His only signed piece is a breastplate, around which the corpus of his work has been assembled. The few documents and the provenance of his works suggest he frequently enjoyed the patronage of the French royal family and nobility. His style is marked by a rich panoply of mannerist ornament, of ancient Roman inspiration, often populated by a rich panoply of mannerist ornament, of ancient Roman inspiration, often populated by fantastic hybrid creatures and making frequent use of grotesque human and animal mask faces. The exact division of labor in the Negroli workshop, with regard to design, casting, embossing, etching, and damascening, is still being explored. The influence of the Negroli's imaginative ornamental forms persisted in the seventeenth century. [This is an edited version of the artist's biography published in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]
Thomas, Bruno, and Ortwin Gamber. "L'arte Milanese dell'armatura." Storia di Milano. 16 vols. and index. Milan, 1953-1966: 11(1958):734-735, 757-777. Also German ed. in Thomas, B. Gesammelte.... 2 vols. Graz, 1977.
Boccia, Lionello D., and Edoardo T. Coelho. L'arte dell'armatura in Italia. Milan, 1967: 333-334.
Hayward, John F. "The Revival of Roman Armour in the Renaissance." Art, Arms and Armour: an International Anthology. Edited by Robert Held. Chiasso, 1979-1980: 1:144-163.
Scalini, Mario. Armature all'eroica dei Negroli. Florence, 1987: 34, 40 n. 30, 44, fig. 24.