GAGGINI, Antonello
(b. 1478, Palermo, d. 1536, Palermo)


Antonello Gaggini (also spelled Gagini; Gazini; Gazzini), Italian sculptor, part of a family of sculptors, masons and architects. One branch of the family, which came from Bissone, Ticino, was active in Genoa from the 15th century. The Gaggini workshop was organized along medieval lines: they produced works in collaboration, combining the skills of mason and sculptor. Their work was chiefly of a decorative and ornamental nature, figurative sculpture being of secondary importance. They remained active in Genoa until the 19th century.

Antonello was the leading representative of the Sicilian branch of the family. He was trained as a sculptor in the studio of his father. Between 1504 and 1506 he appears to have been in Calabria and Rome, where he briefly worked as Michelangelo’s assistant on the tomb of Julius II (relief on the left-hand socle of the Rachel niche, S Pietro in Vincoli). His early work shows the influence of Francesco Laurana, Michelangelo and Andrea Sansovino. Antonello built up a large studio, and for decades he was able to monopolize all the major sculptural commissions in Sicily and, to some extent, Calabria. However, the large scale of his studio led to artistic and stylistic stagnation. Antonello’s work as an architect still needs further research.

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