By Jennifer D. Webb

A relief sculpture from San Martino in Alzano Lombardo depicts the sculptor and architect, Giovan Battista Caniana, in the city where he died on May 5, 1754. It was for this church that Caniana, from the renowned family of artists, executed the pulpit which is decorated with relief panels completed by his friend and colleague, Andrea Fantori. This pulpit inspired a number of regional copies around Bergamo.

The Caniana family were known for their Rococo carving and are regarded as central to the production of furniture in Northern Italy. James Yorke, in his review of Enrico Colle’s 2003 text, argues that the growth in popularity of Rococo furnishings was driving first by the regional Grand Dukes and then expanded into other parts of Europe.

Soon after his marriage in 1694, Giovan Battista Caniana had the first of his 8 children; three of his sons and his daughter, Caterina, continued in the family tradition and dedicated themselves to architecture and intarsia design.

References: Lise, Giorgio. “CanianaDizionario Biografico degli Italiani. Vol. 18 (1975); York, James. Il Mobile Rococo in Italia. (Book review). Apollo (July 2004): 68; Catalano, Maria Ida. “Fantoni, Andrea.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press.

Image credits:

Giovan Battista Caniana, Basilica di San Martino, Alzano Lombardo, Bergamo (Wikimedia Commons)

Pulpit, Basilica di San Martino, Alzano Lombardo (Wikimedia Commons)

Further reading: Enrico Colle, Il Mobile in Italia. Arredi e decorazioni d’’interni dal 1738 al 1775. Milan: Mondadori Electa, 2006; Morrison H. Heckscher, American Rococo, 1750-1775: Elegance in Ornament. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc, 1992.

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