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Perctarit, King of the Lombards Giovanni Bonazza


Giovanni Bonazza Venice, 1654 – Padua, 1736

Culture Italian
Date early 18th century
Object type relief
Medium, technique marble in a plaster frame

relief: 34.5 × 24.5 × 4.5 cm
with frame: 47 × 36.5 × 4.5 cm, 7.3 kg

Inventory number 2017.13
Collection Sculptures
On view Museum of Fine Arts, Ground Floor, Baroque Hall

The characteristic genre of Venetian baroque sculpture is embodied in the portrait medallions made by Giovanni Bonazza (1654–1736) and his workshop, depicting early medieval and migration-era rulers. Bonazza was the head of a large family of artists and sculptors in the province of Veneto in northern Italy: from the late seventeenth century, his workshop in Padua providedstatues to many nearby churches and villas. His altars and religious-themed pieces embellish the interior of the Frari in Venice, the Church of Santa Maria dei Servi in Padua, and the Basilica Saint Anthony of Padua, among others. His secular-themed sculptures can be found in Saint Petersburg’s Summer Garden, Villa Breda in Ponte di Brenta and Villa Pisani in Stra. The customers of his series of marble portraits depicting Italian rulers and famous people came from the local patrician class. Several pieces of the depictions of the most beloved rulers could have been made to order, such as the portrait of the dreaded Hun king, Attila of which four more copies are known. The model for the depictions were illustrations of the Del regno d’Italia sotto i barbari epitome, by the historian Emanuele Tesauro, an engraved book published in Turin in 1664. The volume contains a portrait of sixty-two Italian rulers from the Gothic king Alaric (376–410) to the Holy Roman emperor Henry II (973–1024). Based on the Tesauro book, complete portrait series may have been created: an eighteenth-century source mentions a marble portrait of sixty Italian kings in the palace of the Forzadura family in Stra, near Padua. The ensemble of the works of art in Budapest – supplemented by seventeen portraits of kings with fouruntitled “character heads” – can also be a fragment of a complete royal series based on the Tesauro publication, which comes from the collection of the collector and patron Miklós Jankovich(1773–1846). Around 1816, Jankovich bought the sixty-two-piece relief series from the heirs of István Marczibányi (1752–1810), another prominent representative of the Pest-Buda art collectors. The series, taken to the Hungarian National Museum in 1836, were scattered in the early twentieth century.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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