Danese Cattaneo

Medal by Danese Cattaneo: profile of Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, 1546

Danese Cattaneo (c1512? - 1572)[1] was an Italian sculptor and medallist, active mainly in the Veneto Region.

Danese was Tuscan in origin, born in either Massa di Carrara[2] or Colonnata.[3] He produced primarily sculptures of religious and historical subjects and portrait busts.[4] From an early age he was a pupil of Jacopo Sansovino in Rome, and left the city, as Sansovino and many other artists did, after the Sack of Rome (1527).

In Sansovino's circle at Venice, he made a reputation in 1530 with his St Jerome at the base of the organ in San Salvador.

He was invited to Padua in 1533 to take part in the stucco decorations for the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua. He also sculpted the sepulchre there of Alessandro Contarini, a Venetian general. Once again in Venice, he was part of the collaborative team providing architectural enrichments for Sansovino's great projects.[5]

In Venice he sculpted the statue of Apollo over the well in the centre of the court of the Zecca. According to Giorgio Vasari, Danese composed the rich iconographic program himself:[6] Apollo is a young man, sitting on a globe, his head radiant; in the right hand are metal rods, and in the left a sceptre, at the top of which is an eye. A serpent, with his tail in his mouth (ouroboros), encircles the globe.

In the church of Sant'Anastasia of Verona, he sculpted a memorial to Giano Fregoso. He also participated in four statues for Doge Leonardo Loredan's monument in the church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo.

Giorgio Vasari owed to conversations with Danese many details of Venetian artists in his Vite. He died in Padua in 1572.[7]


  1. Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani- Trecani: "Cattaneo, Danese".
  2. F. Milizia, following Vasari
  3. Campori, 1872.
  4. Portrait of a Jurist, (Frick Collection, New York.
  5. Vasari included his remarks on Danese within his vita of Sansovino.
  6. Adrienne DeAngelis, 2005. "The Apollo Wellhead of Danese Cattaneo: a source for Ammannati's "Juno" Fountain in Florence" Artibus et Historiae 26(51) pp. 151-157.
  7. "Brief Bio Danese Cattaneo". Retrieved 2009-01-22.
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