BONAZZA, Giovanni
(b. 1654, Venezia, d. 1736, Padova)

Biography

Italian sculptor, part of a family of sculptors. Active in Padua in the first half of the 18th century, the family was founded by Giovanni Bonazza, a prolific artist who ran a busy workshop and was an important master for his sons. His eldest son, Tommaso Bonazza (c. 1696-1775), often collaborated with his father and with his brother, Antonio Bonazza (1698-1763), his art remaining close to that of Giovanni. Francesco Bonazza (d Venice, 1770), who was probably born in Venice, worked as a sculptor and as a painter, mosaicist and engraver of cameos. He appears to have been the least involved in his father's workshop, although his style remains close to that of Giovanni and of his brothers. Antonio Bonazza was the most brilliant of Giovanni's sons and one of the most original 18th-century Venetian sculptors. The only documented activity of his brother Michelangelo Bonazza (1704-1768) is his collaboration with Tommaso on statues on the portal of S Maria del Carmine, Padua. The Bonazza family had numerous pupils, who created a school at Padua that remained active until the end of the 18th century and influenced the young Antonio Canova.

Giovanni Bonazza worked in Venice until 1696-97, and his early works include the statues of St Peter and St Paul for the façade of the parish church at Fratta Polesine (1682), the monument to Alexander VII in Treviso Cathedral (1689) and works in Venice. Initially his style was close to the heavy classicism of Josse de Corte, but the Alexander VII already reveals the influence of the more Baroque art of Filippo Parodi. In 1696-97 Bonazza settled in Padua with his family and between 1697 and 1710 contributed to the sculptural enrichment of the reliquary chapel at the Santo in Padua, initiated by Parodi. In 1703 Giovanni began carving the marble sections of the altar of the Addolorata in S Maria dei Servi at Padua, where vast marble volutes frame delicate bronze reliefs of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin.