ARNOLFO DI CAMBIO
(b. ca. 1245, Colle di Valdelse, d. ca. 1310, Firenze)

Biography

Italian sculptor and architect. He is first mentioned in 1265 as Nicola Pisano's assistant on the both on the shrine of S. Dominic in Bologna and the pulpit for Siena Cathedral. In 1277 he went to Rome, where he was in the service of Charles of Anjou; his portrait of Charles (Capitoline Museum, Rome) is one of the earliest portrait statues since the ancient world. His most important surviving work, however, is the tomb of Cardinal de Braye (d. 1282) in S. Domenico at Orvieto, which set the type of wall tomb for more than a century (the cardinal lies on a bier beneath the Madonna and Child in glory). The most famous piece of sculpture attributed to him is the bronze statue of St Peter in St Peter's, Rome.

As an architect, Arnolfo had a great reputation in his day and began the building of Florence Cathedral. No other buildings are documented as being by him, but several other important Florentine buildings, including Sta Croce and the Palazzo Vecchio, have been attributed to him, notably by Vasari. (He also carved the sculptural decoration on the cathedral façade.) If they really are to be credited to Arnolfo, he must rank as one of the greatest architects of the Middle Ages, as well as a distinguished sculptor.