Italian sculptor and draughtsman. He was one of the most independent-minded sculptors in Italy in the generation after Antonio Canova.
His early work is in the Neoclassical style predominant throughout Europe around the turn of the century. While in the Paris studio of Jacques-Louis David
he became interested in the art of the Quattrocento, an interest confirmed when he settled in Florence after 1815. His later works combine Neoclassical and neo-Renaissance elements with, particularly in his portraits, a strong taste for naturalism.
In 1812 he held a series of classes at the Florentine Accademia di Belle Arti, astonishing his colleagues by instructing his model to take up a series of instantaneous and casual poses, instead of the customary carefully contrived stance taken from a famous work of art. In 1839 he was made a professor at the Accademia, and again overturned traditional academic notions, this time by presenting the pupils in the life class with a hunchbacked model.
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