Bernardo Rossellino

Architect of Renaissance Popes

Detail of Rossellino's Tomb of Bruni, S. Croce

Like Antonio and his other stone-scupting brothers, Bernardo Gamberelli (1409–64) was born in Settignano and nicknamed Rossellino for his red hair. Along with their good friend, Desiderio da Settignano But Bernardo was in many ways the family genius, a disciple of Leon Battista Alberti and a key figure in the carrying on the lessons of Donatello, Ghiberti and Brunelleschi and spreading the classic Renaissance style around Tuscany and Rome.

Apprenticed to Nanni di Bartolo, Bernardo worked as a sculptor but was best known as an architect, building the transept and apse of Old St Peter's in Rome for Pope Nicolas V and planning and designing the new, utopian town of Pienza for Pius II.

His tomb of Leonardo Bruni in Santa Croce, set in architectural frame, which would become the model for hundreds of other Renaissance tombs. He worked with his brother Antonio on the tomb of the Portuguese Cardinal in San Miniato al Monte. He also worked on the Aranci Cloister at the Badia Fiorentina and the masterful portal of the Sala del Concistoro in Siena's Palazzo Pubblico.

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