28 Facts About Gasparo Cairano


Gasparo Cairano introduced a powerful and highly expressive classical taste, as opposed to the hitherto existing refined decorativeness.


The installation of Gasparo Cairano's cycle is contemporaneous with Tamagnino's installation of the twelve angels in the lower section of the dome.


At the time Gasparo Cairano worked on his Apostles, Tamagnino was the better regarded sculptor, and his superiority is evident in the artistic and technical quality of his Angels, if only for their relative modernity, following the neo-classical mode of Antonio Rizzo.


Gasparo Cairano was given the sole commission for figurative sculptures in the new building.


Two years later, in 1493, Gasparo Cairano began work at the courtyard of the Loggia palazzo.


Around 1497, while continuing with his work on the Caesars, Gasparo Cairano developed five keystones for the portico of the Loggia palazzo, representing Sant'Apollonio, San Faustino, San Giovita, Justice and Faith.


Between 1499 and 1500, he delivered two large trophies to be placed on the top order of palazzo, while between 1493 and 1505, Gasparo Cairano participated in the fulfilment of leonine protome, capitals, and candelabras and friezes for the same top order.


In 1503, Gasparo Cairano made the last deliveries in the Caesar cycle for the front of the Loggia palace, and finished up the bulk of his work on the site; no further records of his presence exist.


Gasparo Cairano now had to reorganise his business and set up closer ties with the contacts he made during his work at the Loggia, including co-workers and other artists in and around Brescia, looking for major commissions.


Gasparo Cairano's hand is evident in the figures of the Father, St Peter and St John the Baptist, leaving the Virgin to his collaborator, while the Angel of the Annunciation and two small busts in the spandrels appear to be a joint work.


However, Gasparo Cairano's attention was not directed to Salo, which he visited rarely, or even to San Pietro in Oliveto, which was mainly run by Sanmicheli, but to two works of greater importance and resonance: the grand staircase of the Loggia and the arch at Sant'Apollonio.


Surely Gasparo Cairano's is the hand that produced the sculptures along with anthropomorphic figures, dolphins and fantastic creatures, the artist already experimented with these in the Loggia; and , the artist inserted small Caesars, both on the portal as well as the overpass, which achieve the poetic zenith of some of his portraiture of old.


Gasparo Cairano committed deeply into the ark of Sant'Appollonio, which counts among his major works and effectively supplants Sanmicheli's ark for monumentality and refined ornamentation.


Gasparo Cairano was undoubtedly affected by this period of sudden and profound decay, if only because of the sharp decline in commissions.


The last relevant document in this regard is the contract for the entrance to the Duomo of Chiari in 1513, while the next document, in 1517, states that Gasparo Cairano was already dead.


Also attributable to Gasparo Cairano, and dated at this stage, is the singular St John the Baptist placed in the tympanum of the capitol of the eponymous Abbey in Parma.


One of the questions on the later years of Gasparo Cairano's career is that of the completion of the Martinengo mausoleum, the largest funereal monument of the Brescian renaissance.


The death of Gasparo Cairano is then placed between these two dates, probably around 1515 or a little later.


Gasparo Cairano cites his firstborn son Gasparo, twelve years old, in turn a sculptor, his wife Catlina, sister of the engraver Andrea Testi of Manerbio.


An understanding of the artistic personality of Gasparo Cairano has to be mediated by a proper contextualization of the contemporary art scene of Brescia.


Gasparo Cairano can be referred to as a novice artist at the beginning, when the Lombard migrant, like many of his contemporaries, arrived in Brescia during the innovative construction of the Santa Maria dei Miracoli and started a successful career.


Gasparo Cairano quickly became the leading innovator of sculptural practice in the region, continually outperforming the already weak competition, which appeared mainly in the shape of Sanmicheli and Antonio della Porta.


Gasparo Cairano possibly aspired to the commission of the ark of Sant'Apollonio, which had been up for grabs since the discovery of the relics of the holy bishop in 1503.


Gasparo Cairano belonged to a family of sculptors, and between 1484 and 1489 was known to have worked in Milan and Pavia for the Sforza, in close contact with Giovanni Antonio Amadeo.


The colocation of the Angels and Apostles as well as the affinity between them suggest that both Tamagnino and Gasparo Cairano obtained early ownership of the internal works at the Santa Maria dei Miracoli, though at the end, it devolved to Gasparo Cairano.


The reasons for the bias are unclear, but it is possible that Gasparo Cairano enjoyed local favour, especially from the directors of the company commissioning the shrine, which allowed him to prevail over Tamagnino despite the latter's technical superiority.


Gasparo Cairano's career covers just over two decades, a relatively short period, during which, moreover, the majority of works produced is concentrated in the latter decade.


Gasparo Cairano was lauded, as for example by the municipality of Chiari where he was explicitly named lapicida architectum et ingeniarum optimum.