FONDULI, Giovanni Paolo
(active 1468-1484 in Padua)
Italian sculptor (also known as Giovanni da Crema). A contract dated 29 November 1469, written by Fonduli himself, has survived, stipulating the execution of three all'antica terracotta altarpieces for a church to be built in the Castello at Este. From Fonduli's handwriting and Venetian dialect, it can be deduced that he had had some education and that he had probably worked outside of Crema, in Padua. In a later contract of 3 March 1484, Fonduli agreed to create a bronze relief for the Paduan church of Il Santo. (Bronze was the medium preferred by Fonduli.)
His best-known work, the bronze, partially gilded Seated Nymph (Wallace Collection, London), demonstrates his knowledge of antique sculpture. Based on an original ancient statue of Andromeda (Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples), it has been compared with Andrea Riccio's later images of female figures. In this work Fonduli combined naturalism with a characteristically Venetian taste for luxuriant forms, in order to create an image of the partially draped nude goddess that vies with the best of Riccio.
Attributions of Fonduli's sculptures to Riccio are fairly common. The stylistic similarities between the two artists, combined with Fonduli's anticipation of the freer sculptural forms of the 16th century, suggest that he was the younger artist and perhaps Riccio's student. The multitude of variants on Fonduli's name (Fondulli, Fundulli, Fondulio; Giovanni da Crema, Giovanni da Cremona) may include the initials IO.F.F. (implying the Latin form of his name Johannes Fondulini Fondulus) found on several bronze Paduan plaquettes, for example the Allegorical Scene (Victoria and Albert Museum, London) and one set as a sword pommel (Wallace Collection, London). Each plaquette reflects knowledge of the goldsmith's art, a knowledge Fonduli acquired in his father's workshop.