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Francesco Laurana, (c. 1430 - before 12 March 1502), was a Dalmatian-born sculptor and medallist. In Croatiamarker he was also known as Frane Vranjanin.

Life and works

Laurana (La Vrana) was born in Vranamarker, near Zaramarker, in the Venetianmarker Dalmatia (now Zadarmarker, in Croatiamarker).

After an apprenticeship under a sculptor, he began his solo career at Naplesmarker, where he was one of the team of sculptors finishing the triumphal arch of Castel Nuovomarker for Alfonso V of Aragon. After the death of Alfonso (1458) he was called to the court at Aix-en-Provencemarker, of René d'Anjou, the former and still titular King of Naples, who commissioned from him a series of bronze portrait medals of personnages at the court.

From 1466 to 1471 Laurana was in Sicily. Works of this period include the Mastrantonio Chapel and the tomb of Pietro Speciale in the church of S. Francesco in Palermo, the side door of the church of St. Marguerite in Sciaccamarker, Madonna and Child sculptures in the Cathedrals of Palermomarker (1471) and Notomarker, and a bust of Eleanor of Aragon now in the Palazzo Abatellis in Naples.

In 1471 he returned to Naples where he executed the sculpture of the Virgin in the Sta. Barbara Chapel. In 1474-1477 Laura spent three years in Urbinomarker, where his relative Luciano Laurana worked. Then he transferred again to Marseille, where he built a small chapel in the Cathedral of S.marker Marie Majeuremarker (1475-81) that is the first structure in France entirely in the Renaissance style, and his workshop executed the St. Lazarus marble altar there. From his workshop also came the retable of the Calvary in St. Didier d'Avignonmarker and the tombs of Giovanni Cossa at Sainte-Marthe de Tarascon and of Charles, comte du Maine, in Le Mansmarker.

Laurana died at Marseillemarker or Avignon, in 1502.

Overview

He was one of the most significant and most complex sculptors of the 15th century—complex because of his activities within varying cultural circles and his exposure to differing influences. His best works evolved in the workshop tradition in collaboration with other artists. His portrait bust reveal a creative individuality that was seen as particularly fascinating in the late 19th century. Though it is impossible to chart his stylistic development, his later work made in France shows some assimilation of northern realism, which is absent from the work executed in Italy.

Notes

  1. Laurana was first documented in 1453, as Francesco Adzara (Francesco da Zara).
  2. Some bear dates 1461, 1463 and 1466 ([Spink & Sons] Numismatic Circular, London. January 1906:col. 8843f).
  3. Signed and dated.
  4. Nikolaus Pevsner, An Outline of European architecture, 7th ed. 1963:289.
  5. [:File:Tombeau de Charles IV d'anjou, comte du Maine.JPG | Illustration].


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