Benedetto Antelami

Examples of the great master's work are visible in the Cathedral and the Baptistery of Parma. A native of Via d’Intelvi and exponent of the Antelami workshop, before arriving in Parma he worked in Genoa, in the Cathedral of San Lorenzo and made a trip to the Ile-de-France, where he became acquainted with the iconography of the cathedral of Chartres.
He was active in Parma between 1178-1200. His intervention in the Cathedral was limited to the remaking of the roof, the insertion of the median staircase and the construction of a pulpit, originally supported by four lions. The themes that Benedict carves there are the Majestas Domini, the Deposition and perhaps the Last Supper. Of this complex, destroyed in 1566 by the intervention of Girolamo Bedoli Mazzola, two lions are reused for the facade, the pier slabs for the floor and the antelamic pulpit. The Deposition is hung on the wall of the upper right transept: the representation of the Pietas, which moves from the Gothic culture, is here overcome by the evocation of the ancient statuary of the post-Augustan age and by the stately image evident in the adherent and thin folds, in the calibrated movements and in the rigorous compositional geometry.
At the beginning of the eighties, Benedetto carried out the project for the facade of the Cathedral of Fidenza, built between 1101 and 1106, proposing the front closed between the two towers, the median porch, the two minor portals on the sides and a double sloping roof sailing on the minor aisles. The sculptural apparatus attributable to Antelami is found in the statue of the Madonna and Child inside the church. In 1196, still in Parma, he designed and built the baptistery in breccia of Verona, with a high base and three decorated portals. The dome designed by Benedict, but built fifty years later, takes into account the new needs of Gothic culture. Also attributed to his hand is the Baptismal Font.

English