(b. 1771, Mataró, d. 1855, Barcelona)


Catalan sculptor and teacher. He began studying at the Escuela de Bellas Artes de la Lonja in Barcelona at the age of 14, and he worked in the studio of Salvador Gurri (fl 1756-1819), a late Baroque sculptor with Neo-classical tendencies. Campeny left the studio after he was attacked by Gurri, who, as a teacher at the Escuela (1785), continued to persecute him and threw him out. Campeny then worked in Lérida, Cervera and Montserrat. He produced his first major work, St Bruno (1795; destroyed 1831), in carved polychromed wood. He also trained with Nicolás Traver and José Cabaneras, both late Baroque artists.

Stylistically, Campeny began with a moderate and personal naturalism, later assimilating some of the Baroque influences from his Catalan teachers. Readmitted to the Escuela, in 1795 he won a scholarship to complete his studies in Rome, where he went in 1796 and had his own studio for 17 years. He was at the Accademia di S Luca, worked in the restoration department of the Museo Capitolino and also studied with Antonio Canova, who had a decisive influence on his work and became a close friend. In Italy he became such a pure Neo-classicist that he was called the 'Spanish Canova'. Various works from this period are held at the Lonja in Barcelona, for example Paris (1808) and Campeny's masterpiece the Dying Lucretia (plaster, 1803; marble, 1834). The collection also contains a statue of the Virgin as Ianua Coeli (1815), made using various hard coloured stones.

After his return in 1816 he became a teacher at the escuela de Nobles Artes and at the same time an honorary member of the Madrid academia de San Fernando. Soon after Ferdinand VII appointed him court sculptor.