CAVALLI, Gian Marco
(b. ca, 1454, Viadana, d. after 1508)


Italian medallist, sculptor and goldsmith. He was the son of a notary, Andrea Cavalli. First recorded as a goldsmith in June 1481, he executed the foot of a large tabernacle dedicated to the feast of Corpus Christi for Mantua cathedral between 1483 and 1485 and a large crucifix for the chapter house of the cathedral (1490-91); none of this work survives. In 1497 Cavalli probably began working for the Mantuan mint. The commissions from Ludovico Gonzaga, Bishop of Mantua, date from 1499 and 1501: a bronze statuette of the Spinario and four silver roundels with Signs of the Zodiac.

Cavalli worked as a sculptor and medallist for the Gonzaga family from 1501 to 1505. He witnessed Andrea Mantegna's will on 1 March 1504 and the granting of Mantegna's funerary chapel in Sant'Andrea, Mantua, on 11 August. From March to June 1506 he is documented at the mint of the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I, at Hall, Tyrol. A testoon depicting Maximilian I and Bianca Maria Sforza has been attributed to Cavalli and linked to a drawing in pen and ink and wash of Two Heads and the Infant Christ (Venice, Accademia) that was once attributed to Ambrogio de Predis. The testoon design was also cast in a larger format (e.g. Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, and Berlin, Bodemuseum). Four medals made for Gianfrancesco Gonzaga, Lord of Rodigo, and four depicting Maximilian I and the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III, as well as several coins depicting Gianfrancesco, are also attributed to Cavalli.

As a sculptor he evidently executed a number of works after designs by other artists, including Antico. A bronze statuette of a nude female figure (New York, Frick Collection) is associated with him. He may have cast the bronze busts of Andrea Mantegna (Mantua, Sant'Andrea) and of the monk Battista Spagnoli (Mantua, Palazzo Ducale), but evidence for his authorship of these works is inconclusive. Among several other works inconclusively given to him is the terracotta bust of Gianfrancesco Gonzaga (Mantua, Palazzo Ducale), which is traditionally attributed to Giovanni Cristoforo Romano. Cavalli is last mentioned in the Libro rosso of the statutes of Viadana in 1508.

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