Artibus et Historiae no. 50 (XXV)

2004, ISSN 0391-9064

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ANITA F. MOSKOWITZ - The Case of Giovanni Bastianini: A Fair and Balanced View

Giovanni Bastianini is best known for works that have been considered forgeries, skillful evocations as they are of Renaissance busts and reliefs. Yet the earliest notices regarding the sculptor are completely lacking in any allegation or even hint of fraud on the sculptor's part. Several decades later the word "forgery" is first attached to his name. This paper will examine the early sources and documentary information regarding a series of sculptures known to be by Bastianini, and to evaluate the more recent and almost uniformly accusatory scholarly allegations. It will become evident that the latter are based on spurious assertions, speculation, and misinterpretations of the sources. For, once it was suggested that he was a forger, the notion gathered momentum and, as in a game of "telephone", all sight was lost of the earliest evidence.

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