(b. ca. 1509, Colonnata, Carrara, d. 1572, Padova)


Cattaneo was a Tuscan sculptor. His family lived in the mountains of Carrara and was connected with the marble trade. According to Vasari he was a pupil of Jacopo Sansovino in Rome; after the Sack (1527) he accompanied his master to Venice, where he worked on tombs, some figures on the Library, and the right-hand panel of the Loggetta.

His earliest Venetian work was the St Jerome in San Salvatore (c.1530). During the 1530s Cattaneo was briefly involved in the stucco ceiling decoration of the chapel of St Anthony in the Santo in Padua, and he also collaborated with Fantoni on Serlio’s high altar for the church of the Madonna di Galliera in Bologna. Probably his first major surviving commission was for the marble statue of a Sun God (Venice, Palazzo Pesaro, courtyard) for the Venetian mint, which Sansovino was rebuilding between 1537 and the mid-1540s. The statue probably dates from the later stages of this work. According to Vasari, it was one of three statues proposed by Cattaneo: a second, representing the Moon, would symbolize silver, while a third, unspecified, work would stand for copper. Only one statue was made, but the account illustrates Cattaneo’s literary approach to his art, stimulated by his parallel interest in poetry.

He was a good portraitist, although his mild, tender style lacks energy. His tomb figures include busts of Bembo, 1547, and Alessandro Contarini, 1555 (both Padua, Santo); the Fregoso Altar (1565, Verona, Sant'Anastasia); the Loredan Monument (c.1572, Venice, SS. Giovanni e Paolo, with Campagna). His statue of Girolamo Fracastoro (1559) is now on the arch flanking the Loggia del Consiglio, Verona. His best bronze bust is the Lazzaro Bonamico (d.1552, now Bassano, Museum), and there are bronzes in Cardiff, Florence (Bargello), New York (Metropolitan Museum) and Vienna.

Cattaneo was also famous as a poet, he wrote "Dell'amor di Marfisa" for the marriage of the Duke Cybo-Malaspina of Massa-Carrara.

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