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Leoni, Pompeo

Milan, Hacia 1533 - Madrid, 1608

Working with his father, Leone Leoni, on all his pieces, Italian sculptor Pompeo Leoni was able to create a workshop in Madrid and to undertake projects beside the El Escorial altarpiece that obliged him to make repeated and lengthy visits to Milan. On September 28, 1556 he arrived in Spain with a series of imperial portraits and was assigned a salary of 30 ducats a month by the Queen Regent, Joan of Austria. He immediately began work on finishing those pieces, but in 1558 the Inquisition tried him for Lutheranism and he was sentenced to reclusion in a monastery. When he regained his freedom, he continued his work, finally completing the sculptures in 1564. That is the year that appears alongside he and his father’s signatures on some pieces. Pompeo Leoni also made medals, including those of Philip II’s heir, Charles, and his preceptor, Honorato Juan. By 1570 he was already confirmed as a court sculptor and that year he made the temporary sculptures to decorate the king’s wedding to his fourth wife, Anne of Austria. He also made a pedestal for the urn bearing relics of Saint Eugene at Toledo Cathedral, as well as one of his most beautiful marbles: the funerary statue of Joan of Austria at the Monastery of the Descalzas Reales in Madrid (1547). His other funerary monuments included works for the tombs of Inquisitor Fernando de Valdés, in Salas (Oviedo); and Cardinal Diego de Espinosa, in Martín Muñoz de las Posadas (Segovia). Pompeo Leoni’s masterpieces, however, were made without his father’s help, as Leone had died by then. Instead, he made the tombs of Charles V and Philip II—in the church at the Monastery of El Escorial—in Madrid, with the collaboration of Italian sculptor Jacopo Nizzolo da Trezzo, and the famous goldsmith, Juan de Arfe. In those two impressive sculptural groups, he returned to the style of his early sculptures, thus linking them to the series of works that had originally established both he and his father as the finest portrait sculptors of their time. Finally, although they were actually cast by Juan de Arfe and his son-in-law, Lesmes del Moral after Leoni’s death, the funerary statues of the Duke and Duchess of Lerma, Francisco Gómez de Sandoval y Royas and Catalina de la Cerda at the convent of San Pablo (Valladolid), as well as that of the Cardinal of Seville, Cristobal Rojas, at the collegiate church of Lerma (Burgos) represent the high level he was able to attain with his work. Leone and Pompeo Leoni were exceptional examples of court sculptors. Beginning with the work of Michelangelo, the genius who most influenced all artists of his time,; and a study of classical Antiquity, the Leonis—in Madrid and Milan—and Giambologna, in Florence, constituted the most important sculptural approach of the second half of the 16th century and the early years of the 17th century. Their influence spread throughout Europe and played both a diplomatic and cultural role that has never been surpassed (Coppel, R. in: E.M.N.P., 2006, vol IV, pp. 1398-1399).

Artworks (15)

Carlos V
Carrara marble, Ca. 1553
Leoni, Leone; Leoni, Pompeo
Empress Isabel
Bronze, 1550 - 1555
Leoni, Leone; Leoni, Pompeo
The Empress Isabel
Carrara marble, 1550 - 1555
Leoni, Leone; Leoni, Pompeo
Emperor Carlos V and the Fury
Bronze, 1551 - 1555
Leoni, Leone; Leoni, Pompeo
Felipe II
Bronze, 1551
Leoni, Leone; Leoni, Pompeo
Felipe II
Alabaster, Second half of the XVI century
Leoni, Pompeo (Attributed to)
Emperor Carlos V (bust)
Carrara marble, 1553
Leoni, Leone; Leoni, Pompeo
Emperor Carlos V
Bronze, 1553 - 1555
Leoni, Leone; Leoni, Pompeo
Maria of Hungary
Italian marble, 1553 - 1555
Leoni, Leone; Leoni, Pompeo

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