By Costanza Beltrami

Sculptor augusto Benvenuti was born on 8 January 1839 in Venice. Despite being very poor, his family encouraged his artistic bent, and he was apprenticed to a woodcarver.

As Benvenuti’s talent emerged, he focused on bronze and stone sculpture. He soon became something of a specialist in public sculptures dedicated to soldiers or national “heroes”: The Italian Army (1885, in Venice), Garibaldi (1887, Venice), Vittorio Emanuele II (1887, Vicenza), among others.

Nevertheless, the sculptor is best remembered for his sculptures of literary and artistic figures. His sculpture of the Innominato (1881), a character in Alessandro Manzoni’s novel The Bethrothed (1840), was greatly acclaimed by contemporaries, while modern critics consider his masterpiece to be a portrait of Giorgionerealized for the Renaissance painter’s hometown of Castelfranco Veneto in 1878.

Reference: Elda Fezzi, “BENVENUTI, Augusto,” Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, vol. 8 (1966),

Monument to Giorgione, marble, 1878, Castelfranco Veneto.

Monument to the Italian Army, marble, 1885, Venice.

Monument to Garibaldi, bronze, 1887, Venice.  

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