(active 1576-1602)


Italian gem carver. The art of the pietra dura mosaics evolved in Rome and was almost immediately transferred to Florence, from where Francesco I de' Medici gave Emperor Rudolph II one of the first works produced in his new workshop in 1589. It was so much liked by the Emperor that he commissioned a second from the workshop which took six and a half years to complete and incorporated stones from Bohemia which he had had sent to Florence. The design also seems to have been strongly influenced by his court as it is stylistically atypical for a work Florentine panel. By 1592 Rudolph II had already secured the transfer of Cosimo Castrucci, from Florence to Prague.

Castrucci, described in a 'pass letter' as a semi-precious stone carver to his Majesty, was from a long line of Florentine goldsmiths and his workshop, which he left behind in Florence continued for another thirty years. His son Giovanni (d. 1615) appears to have been working with Cosimo in Prague, from circa 1598 and was made Kammer-Edelsteinschneider in 1610, which might be the date of his father's death although there is no mention of Cosimo after 1600.

The high regard in which their works were held, is confirmed by an invitation to Giovanni from the Medicis to take over the workshop of the Caroni brothers who died in 1611. One of the Castrucci oeuvres, depicting the Banquet of Abraham, was even commissioned by the Medicis to designs supplied by them. Giovanni's son, Cosimo di Giovanni, who combined the skillful three-dimensional renderings of space which his grandfather, Cosimo was renowned for, and the layered picture planes and architectural elements developed in Giovanni's work, is mentioned until 1619, when Giovanni's son-in-law Giuliano di Pietro Pandolfini seems to have taken over the workshop.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.