ANTELAMI, Benedetto
(active 1170-1230 in Parma)

Deposition from the Cross (detail)

Duomo, Parma

The first known work by Antelami is this Deposition on the pulpit of the Cathedral of Parma. Antelami's rigorous and severe style has roots in Provencal sculpture and particularly in the conception of statuary inherited from antiquity. The Virgin, St John, and the Holy Women, standing one behind the other, are clearly set off from the background, and the drapery folds are chiselled into the marble with a precision suggesting the art of the bronzeworker or goldsmith. Antelami disregards picturesque, anecdotal, or formal devices; his compact, firm forms have affinities with classical antiquity. Only the bowed heads and a restrained gesture of the hands evoke the pathos of the scene.

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