MAZZA, Giuseppe Maria
(b. 1653, Bologna, d. 1741, Bologna)
Italian sculptor, the son of the sculptor Camillo Mazza (1602-72) with whom he trained for a time. Mazza was the most celebrated Bolognese sculptor after the death of Algardi. Like the young Algardi, he studied with painters (Domenico Canuti, Carlo Cignani, and Lorenzo Pasinelli) rather than sculptors and evolved a distinctive, painterly style of his reliefs. This was unusual, but meant that Mazza's work fitted well into large, decorative projects, such as the transformation of the old church of Corpus Domini in Bologna where he collaborated with the architect Giacomo Monti (1620-1692) and the painter Marcantonio Franceschini (1648-1729) from 1686 to 1695. Mazza evidently went on well with Franceschini, who was the dominant artistic influence in the area. At the church of Corpus Domini, the renovation included elaborate frescoing complemented by Mazza's reliefs and statues in plaster. Franceschini provided basic designs for Mazza's statues of St Francis and St Clare to either side of the high altar.
Mazza's figural style is fluently modelled and closer to the early works of Franceschini or Algardi than to the High Baroque mode then fashionable in Rome, which is understable given that Mazza only saw Rome when he was seventy years old.
Mazza executed his works in a variety of media, including bronze, marble, stucco, and terracotta. His subject matter was dominated by religious imagery, though he did carry out several secular and mythological scenes.
Between 1716 and 1735 he was involved with the project to decorate with reliefs the newly created chapel dedicated to St Dominic in the Venetian church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo. He executed a series of six large-scale bronze reliefs.