This is a preview of the content in our Bologna + Modena Art & Culture app. Get the app to:
  • Read offline
  • Remove ads
  • Access all content
  • Use the in-app Map to find sites, and add custom locations (your hotel...)
  • Build a list of your own favourites
  • Search the contents with full-text search functionality
  • ... and more!
iOS App Store Google Play

Renaissance Art and Architecture

Cappella Bentivoglio, S. Giacomo Maggiore

Bologna in the 1400's continued to be a wealthy and influential city, but—quite unaccountably—it played only a very small role in the artistic triumphs of the Renaissance. In the quattrocento, nearby Ferrara was a great centre for painting, thanks to the unflagging enthusiasm and deep pockets of the Este dukes. One of their court artists. Cosmè Tura, had a style unto himself – a very nervous and elegant line, creating highly energized dreamlike scenes, reflected to varying degrees in the work of the other great quattrocento Ferraresi: Francesco del Cossa, Dosso Dossi, Lorenzo Costa and especially Ercole de’ Roberti. All of these left some work in Bologna and Modena.

The region did have one noteworthy achievement: sculpture and architectural reliefs in terracotta. Unlike Tuscany, marble and stone are rare in the Po Valley, but clay was abundant. Great sculptors such as Alfonso Lombardi and Antonio Begarelli are undeservedly little known outside of the area.

In architecture, Bologna was generally content to follow the fashions of Tuscany, and there was enough money around to build a fine collection of Florentine-style palaces.

Niccolò dell’Arca

Sculptor of San Domenico


Former Home of the Unversity

Amico Aspertini

The 'Half Insane Eccentric'

Antonio Begarelli

Making Terracotta Look Like Marble

Denys Calvaert

'Dionisio Fiammingo', a Fleming in Bologna

Canozzi da Lendinara

Intarsia Masters

Girolamo da Carpi

Sophisticated Mannerist Court Painter

Casa Saraceni

Now used for exhibitions


The Master from Parma

Francesco del Cossa

Elegant Early Renaissance Master

Lorenzo Costa

The Bentivogli's Favourite Painter

Dosso Dossi

Late Renaissance Ferrarese Master

Fontana del Nettuno

Bologna's Silly Sea-God

Prospero Fontana

A Much-travelled Mannerist

Il Francia

Really Francesco Raibolini

Il Garofalo

Nickname of Mannerist Benevenuto Tisi


The Father of Neptune

Alfonso Lombardi

Maestro of Terracotta

Guido Mazzoni

Renaissance Terracotta Master


A Brief Sojourn

Vincenzo Onofri

The Renaissance in Terracotta

Oratorio Santa Cecilia

Bologna's 'Sistine Chapel'

Lelio Orsi

Tough Luck Mannerist

Palazzina della Viola

Renaissance Pleasure Palace

Palazzo Albergati

Palace of Exhibitions, Congresses and Balls

Palazzo Malvezzi de' Medici

Seat of the Provincial Government

Palazzo del Podestà

The Palace of the Governors

Palazzo Sanuti-Bevilacqua

A Florentine Palazzo in Bologna

Palazzo Vizzani-Sanguinetti

Palace of Scholars

Bartolomeo Passarotti

Mannerist With a Twist

Baldassare Peruzzi

Architect from Siena

Pinacoteca Nazionale

The Good, the Great and the Bland

Jacopo della Quercia

Sienese Master Sculptor in Bologna

Ercole de' Roberti

Elusive Master from Ferrara

San Domenico

Treasurehouse of Art

San Giacomo Maggiore

Parish Church of the Bentivoglio Tyrants

San Giovanni in Monte

One of Bologna's Oldest Churches

San Michele in Bosco

Balcony over Bologna

San Pietro (Modena)

The Church with the Curious Frieze

Santi Gregorio e Siro

With Annibale Carracci's altarpiece

Sebastiano Serlio

Author of the 'Seven Books of Architecture'

Spirito Santo

Oratorio dei Celestini

Terracotta Art

Dreaming in Clay

Pellegrino Tibaldi

Mannerist Jack of All Trades

Bartolomeo Triachini

The Lost Architect

Cosmè Tura

Eccentric Renaissance Stylist

Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola

Prince of Renaissance Architecture

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by Michele Ursino