By Anne Leader
Italian gem-engraver and medallist Giovanni Bernardi died on 22 May 1553 in Faenza. He learned the art of gem engraving from his goldsmith father Bernardo, who died in the same year. Giovanni worked at the court of Ferrara, in Rome for various cardinals and popes, and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. For Cardinal Ippolito de’Medici, Bernardi adapted drawings by Michelangelo as engraved crystal. Bernardi moved to Faenza in 1539 where he remained until his death save five years in Rome at the papal mint from 1541 to 1545. A leading figure of the Mannerist style, Bernardi’s skill at engraving rock crystal earned him an international reputation.
Further reading: Valentino Donati. “Bernardi, Giovanni.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. Web.
The Adoration of the Magi, glass, Washington, D.C., The National Gallery of Art, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1957.14.512
The Rape of Ganymede, 1532 or after, bronze//dark brown patina (rubbed on exposed surfaces), Washington, D.C., The National Gallery of Art, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1957.14.516
The Fall of Phaeton, 1533 or after, bronze//medium brown patina, Washington, D.C., The National Gallery of Art, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1957.14.515
Christ Expelling the Moneychangers from the Temple, c. 1540/1549, engraved rock crystal, Washington, D.C., The National Gallery of Art, Gift of David Edward Finley and Margaret Eustis Finley, 1984.5.1
The Punishment of Tityus, ca. 1530, rock crystal, London, The British Museum, Blacas Collection 739