ANTONIO DA TRENTO
(active c. 1527 in Bologna)
Italian printmaker. Of six documented chiaroscuro woodcuts by the artist (two signed, four mentioned by Vasari), five are skilfully cut in a very controlled two-block style, for example Nude Man in a Landscape. The sixth, the Martyrdom of Two Saints, is among the best of Italian multiple-block chiaroscuros. All are after designs by Parmigianino.
According to Vasari, Parmigianino, arriving in Bologna after the Sack of Rome in 1527, stayed with a friend for several months and retained Antonio to instruct him in the cutting of two- and three-block prints. Although Vasari stated elsewhere that Parmigianino prepared many other designs to be incised in copper and printed, he implied that Antonio was employed for this purpose. The project foundered because of Parmigianino's painting obligations, whereupon Antonio stole all the prints (or possibly matrixes - Vasari is not clear) in copper and wood and as many drawings as possible and disappeared.
Since the 18th century attempts have been made to rediscover him in the person of the etcher and painter Antonio Fantuzzi, active at Fontainebleau between 1537 and 1550. Four etchings (out of over 100) by Fantuzzi copy Parmigianino drawings and correspond to chiaroscuro designs. This overlap, the hiatus in Antonio da Trento's career, the mention of copperplates by Vasari and the likelihood that such highly prized designs would find a further use enhance the theory, which, however, lacks firm substantiation. All of Antonio's chiaroscuros were recut for later editions, though not those issued by Andreani.