RUSTICI, Giovanni Francesco
(b. 1475, Firenze, d. 1554, Tours)

Biography

Italian sculptor and painter. He was of noble birth, and his artistic activities were those of a dilettante. No formal apprenticeship is recorded: although Vasari called him a pupil of Verrocchio this can only have been indirectly, for Verrocchio died in Venice in 1488, when Rustici was 14. His later collaboration with Leonardo da Vinci does suggest a mutual familiarity with Verrocchio's workshop, which continued to operate after the master's death. Certainly, the well-informed Pomponius Gauricus, in De sculptura (Padua, 1504), named him as one of the principal sculptors of Tuscany, with Benedetto da Maiano, Andrea Sansovino and Michelangelo. Rustici also studied the Medici sculpture collection in the garden at S Marco in Florence, where, as an aristocrat, he would have been particularly welcome.

He worked in terracotta and marble, but is best known for his bronzes, notably the group St John the Baptist Preaching (1506-11) over the north door of the Baptistery in Florence. He also worked in France at the invitation of Francis I.