PollaioloPollaioloBenci, Antonio Piero (1431-1498) by Scholes, Robert

Antonio (1431 – 1498) and Piero Pollaiolo Benci (1441 – 1496) The Florence Art Guide on line tell us this about the brothers: Antonio, the most versatile of the two, carried out the beautiful St. Michael and the Dragon (Bardini Museum), the two panels of the Labours of Hercules (Uffizi), the last surviving paintings of a famous series, and the Profile of a woman (Poldi Pezzoli Museum, Milan), identified by some as a portrait of Simonetta Cattaneo Vespucci, who was the woman loved by Giuliano dei Medici, killed in the Pazzi plot on May 23rd 1478 (and, according to some, also loved by his brother, Lorenzo the Magnificent). This is the image called Portrait of a Lady below. As a goldsmith he carried out the fine silver altar (1477-80), and the base of the silver Cross in the Baptistery (both of them today in the Museum del Opera del Duomo), while as a sculptor he only worked in bronze or terracotta and never in marble: his small bronze Hercules and Antaeus can be seen today at the Bargello. The particularly fine and detailed method used by Antonio in his drawings was to encourage him to experiment a new artistic technique, which certainly gives him even greater importance, for he was to become one of the first engravers in history. Piero, whose work tended to be more mediocre in colour and line, carried out the Virtues (Uffizi), commissioned by the Guild of Merchants in 1469, the Coronation of the Virgin (Church of Sant’Agostino in San Gimignano) and the portrait of Giangaleazzo Maria Sforza (Uffizi).

Back to top

Back to Top