Filippo Calendario
Biography of Italian Gothic Sculptor: Architect of Doges Palace, Venice.

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Capital Relief Sculpture (c.1340)
(Palazzo Ducale, Venice)

Filippo Calendario (before 1315-1355)

A notable figure in Venetian Gothic sculpture and Gothic Architecture, the artist and architect Filippo Calendario was an influential designer in 14th century Italy, although only part of one building, the Doges Palace, Venice, can be attributed to him. First errected in the 9th-century, the Palace was rebuilt many times thereafter, and it was with the design and construction of the Sala del Maggior Consiglio in 1340 that the present building really took shape. Work on the building's Gothic art and design continued until 1420, largely under the guidance of Filippo Calendario. A well respected Government advisor, on many public building projects, he became embroiled in the attempt by Marino Faliero - Venice's 55th Doge - to take supreme power, and was sentenced to death in 1355 by the Venetian authorities.

Nicola Pisano (c.1206-1278)
Giovanni Pisano (c.1250-1314)
Arnolfo di Cambio (c.1240–1310)
Giovanni di Balduccio (c.1290–1339)
Andrea Pisano (1295-1348)
Andre Beauneveu (c.1335-1400)
Claus Sluter (c.1340-1406)
Hans Multscher (c.1400-1467)
Giorgio da Sebenico (1410-1473)

For different types of carving,
and modelling, see:
Stone Sculpture
From igneous, sedimentary,
and metamorphic rocks.
Marble Sculpture
Pentelic, Carrara, Parian marbles.

Successor to Basseggio

In 1292, the Venetian government decided to rebuild the hall of the Doges's Palace towards the Rio di Palazzo, and during the first decade of the trecento the Sala dello Scrutino (destroyed by the fire in 1577) was constructed. Filippo Calendario was named as the chief architect and director of sculpture when the Sala del Maggior Consiglio was being planned three decades later.

Note About Art Appreciation
To learn how to judge plastic artists like the Gothic sculptor Filippo Calendario, see: How to Appreciate Sculpture. For later works, please see: How to Appreciate Modern Sculpture.

Born sometime before 1315 in Murano, Calendario may have started his career as a shipbuilder. According to records he was appointed Capomaestro (master architect) of the Doges' Palace in Venice, sometime in mid-career. The Palace was the seat of government for Venice for many centuries, and also housed the judiciary and administrative offices of bureaucracy. The first phase of the Palace construction began in the 800s, and was rebuilt and added to many times thereafter. In about 1340 Sala del Maggior Consiglio carried out major constructional works, and this was continued until about 1420. It is supposed that Calendario made the capitals of the facade of the palace, under the guidance of Andrea da Pisa. However, it is clear that the palace was constructed in two distinct stages in later years - the windows on the eastern section of the southern waterfront facade are on a different level to those on the western section.

The architectural style of the Doge's Palace is unique. It adapts a northern Gothic style architecture with Venetian Gothic characteristics. The tall arches, steeples and towers of northern Gothic architecture were prone to subsidence, so Venetians chose to build low squat structures, but still incorporating many typical and often exaggerated Gothic features.

As traitors were blackened from history, and all reference to their lives and works were to be annihilated, very few references to Calendario or his work exist today. The only building we know he definitely worked on, the Doge's Palace, was in a sad irony, to be the place of his execution. He was hung from a column of the palace.

For a guide to developments in 14th and 15th century Florence, please see: Italian Renaissance Sculpture.

• For the history and types of sculpture, see: Homepage.
• For a list of the world's top 100 3-D artworks, see: Greatest Sculptures Ever.
• For a list of the world's best 3-D artists, see: Greatest Sculptors.
• For more about Venetian sculpture, see: History of Sculpture.

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