Torrigiano, Pietro

Torrigiano, Pietro a celebrated Italian sculptor, was born at Florence about 1472. He studied the antiquities in the gardens of Lorenzo the Magnificent in company with Michael Angelo; but, becoming jealous of the growing distinction of the latter, he assaulted him so violently that he was obliged to leave Florence. He went to Rome, where he was employed by pope Alexander VI; but he afterwards gave up his profession, and became a soldier under the duke of Valentino, and also under Vitelli and Piero de Medici. He again returned to his profession, and, executing several bronze figures for some Florentine merchants, accompanied them to England. He was employed by Henry VIII in erecting the tomb of Henry VII in Westminster Abbey, which was completed in 1519, and, it is supposed, the tomb of Margaret, countess of Richmond, in Henry VI's Chapel. He left England finally in 1519, and visited Spain, where he executed several pieces of sculpture for convents, etc., and, among others, a group of the Virgin and Infant. This was so beautiful that the duke de Arcos commissioned him to make a copy of it, promising liberal payment. Disappointed in receiving a large quantity of copper coin, amounting to only thirty ducats, he seized a mallet and slivered the work into a thousand pieces. The duke accused him to the Inquisition as a sacrilegious heretic for destroying a figure of the Holy Virgin. Torrigiano was condemned, but avoided the ignominious end, which awaited him by starving himself. He died in 1522. See Spooner. Biog., Dict. Of Fine Arts, s.v.

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