A GOLDEN ERA WHICH LASTED
By Andrea Sansovino
The craze for bronze statues and statuettes lasted over more than two centuries until Rococo and the use of gold ornaments during the 18th century became a dominant feature that made obsolete most creations of the preceding periods. The Florentine and Antwerp cabinets of the 17th century, table clocks made between 1550 and 1720, massive pieces of furniture and those exquisite bronzes that decorated hundreds of then incomfortable castles and mansions became outdated and disappeared under layers of dust in many attics.
The 18th century was all devoted to showiness in styles and to space. Furniture were given round shapes, armchairs received soft cushions and sculptors preferred marble instead of bronze to create human-size statues to ornate monumental mansion halls or parks. Anf if bronze founders were still active that was mainly to produce andirons or clock cases as well as chimney, door and furniture ornaments.
Many bronze artists merely became craftsmen while a majority of sculptors limited themselves to produce statues in marble or terracotta.
By 1750 only a few art lovers knew about the great sculptors of the 15th century such as Donatello, Bartolomeo Bellano, Michelozzo, Andrea del Verrocchio, Piero Jacopo Bonacolzi called Antico, Antonio Pollaiuolo, Adriano Fiorentino, Andrea Sansovino, Severano da Ravenna or 16th century artists like Tullio and Antonio Lombardo, Alessandro Leopardi, Vittore Camelio, Jacopo Tatti called Sansovino, Michelangelo, Agostino Zoppo, Francesco da Sangallo, Baccio Bandinelli, Pietro da Barga, Benvenutto Cellini, Giovanni Rustici, Niccolo Tribolo, Tiziano Minio, Francesco da Santa Agata, Desiderio da Firenze, Riccio, Pierino da Vinci, Vincenzo de Rossi, Danese Cattaneo, Bartolomeo Ammanati, Vincenzo Danti, Giambologna, Leone Leoni, Hubert Gerhard, Angelus de Rubeis, Girolamo Campagna, Giulio del Moro, Gregor van der Schardt, Barthélémy Prieur, Tiziano Aspetti or Adriaen de Vries and not to forget some 17th century masters such as Antonio and Gianfranco Susini, Pietro and Ferdinand Tacca, Niccolo Roccatagliata, Pietro Francavilla, Hans Krumper, Pierre Puget and still many others.
The Industrial revolution of the 19th century however drove certain people to show some interest in Middle-Age and Renaissance works, notably around 1830 with the restoration of Roman and Gothivalrous novels, particularly by Walter Scott.