People, history, traditions

Antonio Begarelli, sculptor (1499 1565)

Modena - MO

(Modena, 1499 - 1565)

His first work was "Our Lady in the square", today in the Civic Museum in Modena. He is thought to have produced this before 1522 so that when the City Council put out a call for a statue of the Madonna, he was able to immediately present the already completed statue.

The success this brought him placed him immediately as one of the leading terracotta artists in the city as, in 1518, the great Guido Mazzoni had meanwhile died, which meant that Begarelli received a great many orders. The styles of Mazzoni and Begarelli are quite distinct, the former being a popular, realist sculptor and the latter adopting a more dignified artistic language, inspired by ancient classics.

Before his death, the Benedictine monks in the monastery of San Pietro in Modena signed a contract with Begarelli for the construction of an altar for the abbey’s church, which the sculptor started but did not manage to finish. This work became the funeral mausoleum for Begarelli, who died in 1565 and is buried here.
In his time, Antonio Begarelli was highly esteemed.

Works in the city of Modena:
Church of Sant’Agostino: Lamentation over the Dead Christ, also called the group of Piety
- Cathedral in a niche in the right-hand nave: Nativity scene with the grotto, eight shepherds, the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, baby Jesus and the ox and ass.

Estense Gallery: Cherub’s head and Angel’s head and the Bust of Lionello Belleardi, all part of the latter’s funereal monument; later works, from 1534 Madonna with Child, Baptism of Christ, Lamentation by the Angels of the Dead Christ, part of a group called "San Salvatore", and the Madonna breastfeeding the Child, the large Madonna with Child and a Bust of Christ.
Church of San Francesco: The large group of thirteen life-size figures in the Descent from the Cross from 1530/1, considered to be Begarelli’s masterpiece.
Abbey of San Pietro: the statues of the Madonna with Child, Saint Peter "Christ”, “angel’s head” from Belleardi’s funereal monument, Saint Justina, Saint Benedict, Saint Francis and Saint Bonaventure, the Dead Christ held by Joseph of Arimathea with the Virgin Mary and Saint John.
Church of San Domenico: Group of seven figures, depicting Christ visiting Martha and Mary.
Civic Art Museum: "Our Lady in the square"

Works in the province:

Parish church of San Cesario: Funereal monument for Gian Galeazzo Boschetti.
Parish church of Medolla: Christ on the cross with four angels
- Parish church of Bomporto:
Group of Christ on the Cross, with the Virgin Mary, Saint John and Saints Bonaventure and Peregrine
Parish church of Monteorsello di Guiglia: Madonna with Child and cherubs.
Church of the Crocifisso in Carpi: Madonna breastfeeding; this is considered by some to be only a rough copy for the Madonna breastfeeding on show in the Estense Gallery, while others attribute it to Begarelli’s nephew rather than Begarelli himself. .
- Cathedral in Carpi: Statue of the Risen Christ.