(b. ca. 1509, Colonnata, Carrara, d. 1572, Padova)

Fregoso Altar

Sant'Anastasia, Verona

Cattaneo's most notable commissions during the 1550s and 1560s were in Verona: the commemorative marble statue of the physician and poet Girolamo Fracastoro (1555) now stands on top of an arch between the Piazza della Ragione and the Tribunale there and shows Fracastoro in a toga. More imposing is the Fregoso Altar (1565) in Sant'Anastasia.

In the Fregoso Altar Cattaneo's sculpture merges with his interest in recondite allegory: in coloured marbles, it adapts the form of a triumphal arch to the function of a combined tomb and altar dedicated to the Redeemer. The outer bays contain a statue of the deceased, the condottiere Giano II Fregoso, and a female allegorical figure of Military Virtue; they are accompanied by reliefs of Minerva and Victory, while the attic level has statues symbolizing Fame and Eternity. The central section forms an altar with a statue of Christ the Redeemer, which is one of Cattaneo's greatest achievements: graceful in gesture and delicately poised, it echoes the lyrical quality of the sculpture Sansovino produced in Rome.

The combination of sacred and profane themes drew criticism, and the sculptor felt defensive about it, according to Torquato Tasso.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.