POLLAIUOLO, Italian family of artists

The brothers Antonio Pollaiuolo and Piero Pollaiuolo were the sons of Jacopo d'Antonio di Giovanni Benci, a Florentine poulterer (hence their nickname). Between c. 1460 and 1484 their Florentine workshop was second only to Andrea del Verrocchio's in size, prestige and range of output in a variety of media. Antonio Pollaiuolo, the elder brother, was trained as a goldsmith. He developed an enduring preoccupation with the representation of the human form, which shows in his work in all media, and he was an important stimulus to High Renaissance painters and sculptors, not least Michelangelo and Raphael. Between 1484 and his death in 1498 he designed and produced in Rome the two grandest papal tombs of the 15th century; these made a major contribution to the development of Renaissance bronze sculpture, as did his small bronzes produced in Florence. Piero Pollaiuolo worked primarily as a panel painter and developed new skills in handling the medium of oil paint, particularly in landscape representation. It seems clear that Antonio was the leader of the workshop and was primarily a draughtsman and a sculptor in metal, whereas paintings produced by the workshop were executed largely by Piero Pollaiuolo.

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