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Antonio da Trento
Nationality: 
italian
Gender: 
Male
Birth Date: 
1508
Birth Place: 
Trent, Italy
Death Date: 
1550
The Italian woodcutter Antonio da Trento is known for his chiaroscuro woodblock prints after designs by Parmigianino (1503-1540). Little is known about him other than what Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) wrote in his Le Vite de’ più eccellenti architetti, pittori, et scultori Italiani (Lives of the Most Eminent Italian Architects, Painters and Sculptors), first published in 1550 and revised in 1568. Scholars believe Antonio was born in Trent, in northern Italy, based on his name, “da Trento.” The similarity of his works to the early work of Ugo da Carpi (ca. 1480-1532) has led to the suggestion that Ugo taught Antonio the method of creating chiaroscuro prints with two woodblocks while in Rome. Vasari writes that Antonio worked and lived with Parmigianino in Bologna, presumably after Parmigianino went there in 1527, although it is possible that they had worked together previously in Rome. Thirty-six woodblock prints have been attributed to Antonio, all after drawings by Parmigianino, but the total remains subject to scholarly disagreement; only two prints have his signature and four other prints are mentioned by Vasari. Antonio probably left Bologna around 1530. Vasari writes that early one morning while living with Parmigianino Antonio stole his master’s engravings, woodcuts and drawings and “must have gone to the Devil, for all the news that was ever heard of him.” Parmigianino recovered the prints, but not the drawings. Vasari’s account seems credible, since Vasari himself was in Bologna in 1529. Scholars have long wondered what became of Antonio. Many have argued that he eventually went to France and worked with other artists at Fontainebleau under the name Antonio Fantuzzi, who was active there from 1537 to 1550, but the most recent scholarship disputes this theory. Fantuzzi probably died around 1550, and that date is usually given for Antonio da Trento’s death as well. (TNB 6/2014) Selected bibliography: Gnann, Achim, with David Ekserdjian and Michael Foster. Chiaroscuro: Renaissance Woodcuts from the Collections of Georg Baselitz and The Albertina, Vienna. Exhibition catalog. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2014. Landau, David and Peter Parshall. The Renaissance Print, 1470–1550. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1994.