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Giulio della Torre

Veronese, c. 1480 - 1557/1558

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Giulio della Torre of Verona was one of the four sons of the celebrated anatomist Girolamo (1444-1506) and Beatrice Benintendi. He was a lawyer by profession, lecturer in civil law at Padua and member of the College of Judges at Verona. In 1508 the Senate of Venice invested Giulio with the county of Cona. He was podestà of Peschiera in 1509 and was part of a group sent from Verona to congratulate Doge Antonio Grimani on his election to office in 1521.

Giulio was a humanist and may have invented, with his brothers, the decorative program for the tomb of his father and his brother Marcantonio, which was executed probably in 1516-1521 by the sculpture Andrea del Riccio (1470-1532) in the church of San Fermo Maggiore, Verona.[1] It is possible that Riccio gave some instruction to Giulio.[2]

There are twenty-five signed medals by Giulio and a further seven attributed to him. The only dated ones are from 1519 and 1529. The sitters for the medals include himself; his father, who died in 1506; his brother Marcantonio, who died in 1511; and Giulio's father-in-law, Guidantonio de' Maffei. The other sitters are mainly bourgeois figures, such as family members and friends. The portraits are a little clumsy in realization and generally are uncomfortably located within the roundel. The reverses, however, are often free inventions by the artist -- the medals have a naive beauty as truly amateur works of art. The reverses are, with only three exceptions, all humanist in type.

The last record of Giulio is the publication of a tract by him, dedicated to his sister, Paolina, in 1531.

[1] Anthony Radcliffe, The Genius of Venice 1500-1600, eds. Jane Martineau and Charles Hope, exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1983: 372-374, sculptures nos. 17-18.

[2] George Francis Hill in Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker, eds., Allgemeines Lexicon der Bildenden Künstler, 17 vols., Leipzig, 1907-1950: 33(1939):296.

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

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