BELLANO, Bartolommeo
(b. 1437, Padova, d. 1496, Padova)


Italian sculptor from the Paduan school. Padua during the fifteenth century possessed a productive and influential, if not very distinguished, school of sculptors. Bellano was the son of a goldsmith and, according to Vasari a pupil of Donatello. Donatello brought bronze art with him to Padua when he moved there from Florence. In 1450, he was entrusted with the realisation of the altar of St Anthony's Basilica, and in order to bring this project to fruition he created a major studio. Bellano was the director of this studio. Although this is undocumented, it may well be true, since shortly after Donatello's return to Florence from Padua in October 1456, Bellano is mentioned in connection with payments for Donatello's bronze statue of Judith Slaying Holofernes (Florence, Palazzo Vecchio). Bellano is documented in Padua again in May 1458 when he, together with Francesco Squarcione, assessed a work of art. Bellano's earliest documented works are four terracotta reliefs with figures of boys, which were commissioned c. 1460 by Antonio Mainardi, one of which can probably be identified (Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts). Although Bellano's indebtedness to Donatello can be seen in this work, his own figure style is already evident in the powerfully modelled boys' figures.

Bellano was a productive and widely known pupil of Donatello, whose lifeless copies in Padua of the work of Donatello and Desiderio showed his lack of originality, while the reliefs which he executed for the pulpits in S. Lorenzo, in Florence, were full of mannerism and a straining for dramatic effect. His manner became somewhat softened after his residence in Venice, where, about 1460, he executed a relief for the facade of S. Zaccaria. His successor Andrea Briosco, called Riccio (1470-1532), inherited something of his manner, but moderated by a wider acquaintance with classic art.

Bellano used his Paduan studio to propagate throughout Venice the highly valued bronze form of art, as well as to create the art of miniature bronzes in Padua.

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