By Anne Leader

Giuseppe Bernardi, called Torretto, was born on 24 March 1694 in the Veneto town of Pagnano. The son and nephew of sculptors, Bernardi became one of the leading north Italian sculptors of the mid-eighteenth century. He was also Antonio Canova’s first teacher. From the 1730s on, Bernardi worked on a large project for the church of Santa Maria della Fava in Venice to sculpt eight, monumental marble statues of the four Evangelists and the four Fathers of the Church. The clay sketches, or modelli, are now in the Birmingham (AL) Museum of Art.

Terracotta models of the four evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, 1730s/1760s, terra-cotta. Birmingham Museum of Art, Museum purchase with funds provided by the Beaux Arts Krewe

Church of S. Maria della Fava, Venice: Facade and interior with view of St. Mark at right

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