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Bernardo Rosselino

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Born at Florence, 1409; died 1464. Rosselino occupies the first place among the architects and sculptors of second rank who flourished during the Early Renaissance. As an architect he built the Rucellai palace at Florence from the plans of his celebrated countryman Leon Battista Alberti, and had an important share in the working out of the details. Another striking work is the façade of the building of the Fraternità della Misericordia at Arezzo which he erected on a Gothic substructure. He won his greatest fame as an architect, however, while in the service of Nicholas V and Pius II. During the pontificate of Nicholas V he aided Alberti in working for the pope's plans respecting a new Church of St. Peter and the reconstruction of the Vatican. The choir which Rosselino began was used later by Bramante. At the order of Pius II he built in the pope's native town Castel Corsignano, later called Pienza, a cathedral, a palace, and a residence for a bishop. At the pope's request the cathedral was erected as a Gothic church with all the aisles of the same height, like the Gothic churches of Austria. He also, at the pope's command, prepared the designs for the Palazzo Nerucci and the beautiful Palazzo Piccolomini at Siena.

Rosselino shows his great architectural talent in his work as sculptor; his importance for the sculpture of the Early Renaissance rests more in the structure as a whole and in the relation of the parts than upon the execution of individual figures, which still showed lack of life and spirit. This is especially true of the sepulchral monuments of Florence to which he gave their permanent form. The tomb he built to the Florentine secretary of State, Leonardo Bruni, in Santa Croce at Florence, was used as a model throughout the entire Early Renaissance. Bruni is represented as lying with the head slightly turned on a raised sarcophagus in a niche; in the semicircular background of the niche the Madonna and Child are shown with two worshipping angels. Among other works of the same character he designed the tomb of Beata Villana in the Church of Maria Novella at Florence, that of the jurist, Filippo Lazzari, in the Church of San Domenico at Pistoja, a richly ornamented marble doorway in the Palazzo Publico at Siena, and a terra cotta panel representing the Annunciation in the cathedral at Arezzo.


MUNTZ, Histoire de l'art pendant la Renaissance, I (Paris, 1888), 104, 306, 423, 543; BURCKHARDT-BODE, Cicerone (Leipzig, 1901), 446 sq.; PASTOR, Hist. of the Popes (London, 1902-), I, 43; II, 183; V, 71; VI, 460, 483.

About this page

APA citation. Kleinschmidt, B. (1914). Bernardo Rosselino. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: The Encyclopedia Press.

MLA citation. Kleinschmidt, Beda. "Bernardo Rosselino." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 16 (Index). New York: The Encyclopedia Press, 1914. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Herman F. Holbrook. For the glory of God and in honor of Saint Philomena.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. March 1, 1914. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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