By Alexis Culotta

Italian wood carver, painter, and art critic Giovanni Battista Carboni was born on 29 March 1725 in the city of Brescia. Son of Rizzardo Carboni, a noted wood carver himself, Giovanni initially set out on a course of study within the humanities. The demands within his father’s workshop, though, recalled Giovanni from such studies in the late 1740s. Upon his return, Giovanni was steeped in the legacy of his father’s methods and subsequently developed his own artistic following for is work. 

From the 1750s onward, Carboni enjoyed numerous commissions for churches around Brescia and beyond. Included among these projects were: carved busts of prominent bishops for the Church of San Lorenzo (later cast in silver by colleague Giuseppe Filiberti); the carved choir of the Church of San Faustino; and carved putti as well as paintings for the Church of Santa Maria del Patrocinio. Throughout these artistic endeavors, though, Carboni never abandoned his passion for writing. In 1760, for example, he published Le Picture e Sculture di Brescia (”The Painters and Sculptors of Brescia”) in collaboration with Luigi Chizzola, who served as editor. Carboni continued his varied pursuits until just prior to his death in December of 1790. 

Further reading: Camillo Boselli, “CARBONI, Giovanni Battista.” Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, vol. 19 (1976). 

Frontispiece, The Painters and Sculptors of Brescia Available to the Public with an Appendix of Several Works in Private Galleries (edited by Luigi Chizzola; first published 1760). 

Choir, Church of San Faustino, Brescia. 

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