OLIVIERI, Giovanni Domenico
(b. 1708, Carrara, d. 1762, Madrid)


Italian sculptor, active in Spain. He studied with the Genoese Francisco Maria Schiaffino and showed an early talent for sculpture. Entering the service of the King of Sardinia in Turin, he worked at the Royal Palace there and carried out various works that are documented but untraced.

In 1739 he went to Madrid through the intermediary of the Marqués de Villarías. There in 1740 he was appointed sculptor to Philip V (primer escultor del rey); his studio in the Arco de Palacio, where he established a school of drawing, became a centre of instruction for young Spanish sculptors. It is probable that it also contributed to the idea of creating the formal Academia de Bellas Artes, a plan that had been promoted by Juan de Villanueva in 1709 and by Francisco Antonio Meléndez in 1726. With the support of the Marqués de Villarías and other members of the nobility, the plan was approved by Philip V in 1742. A preparatory committee was formed in July 1744, with Olivieri as Director General, and the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de S Fernando was officially opened in 1752, in the reign of Ferdinand VI, with Don José de Carvajal y Lancáster as patron and Olivieri as Director.