Sebenico (Croatian: Juraj Dalmatinac; c. 1410 – 10
October 1473) was a Venetian sculptor and architect from Venetian
Dalmatia, who worked mainly in
Sebenico (now Šibenik, Croatia), and
in the city of Ancona, then a maritime republic.
6 Further reading
7 External links
Sebenico was born from the Roman noble family of Orsini in
the Dalmatian city of Zara (now Zadar, Croatia), which was part of the
Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice (see Venetian Dalmatia).
He emigrated to
Venice during his youth, where he was probably trained
as a sculptor in the workshop of Giovanni and Bartolomeo Bon, or
at least worked with them as an independent associate. He would not
have been awarded the great responsibility of the 1441 Šibenik
contract without having experience of major works, and various
attributions of surviving sculptures in
Venice to him, as part of the
Bon workshop, have been made, including the decorations on the
Porta della Carta of the Doge's Palace. Anne Markham Schultz
dismisses all previous suggestions as stylistically incompatible, but
instead proposes the relief of Saint Mark enthroned among members of
the Confraternity of Saint Mark in the lunette above the main entrance
to the Scuola di San Marco, which she dates to 1437-1438 and finds
close in style to Giorgio's later works at
Šibenik and elsewhere.
As his style here has few similarities to other works by the Bons, she
considers it most likely that he worked with them when already a
master, who had trained elsewhere. She believes his personal style
offers few clues as to where this might have been.
In 1441, when still resident in Venice, Giorgio was summoned to
Šibenik in order to take charge of the construction of the Cathedral
of St. James. He moved by the end of August, and in 1443 was awarded
the title of master under the condition set in the contract with the
procurators of the Cathedral to take up residence there for at least
six years. On 1 September 1446 he agreed to extend his contract as
chief architect for another ten years. Giorgio was granted permission
to remain in
Venice for two months every two years on condition that
he did no work there except on his own house. He will work on the
Cathedral from 1441 till 1473, although discontinuously because the
work were interrupted several times for lack of funds and probably for
Venice he married Elisabetta Da Monte (daughter of Gregorio da
Monte, a Venetian carpenter), who brought him as her dowry some houses
in Venice. After 1450 he worked in both
Ancona and Sebenico, with a
Dubrovnik between June 1464 and November 1465, mostly
working on the fortifications. He travelled to Rome in 1470-71. He
is believed to have died in
Sebenico on 10 October 1473.
It is believed that his descendance inhabited
Sebenico until the end
of the 17th century.
Facade of the
Cathedral of St. James, Šibenik
Cathedral of St. James, Šibenik - the principal work of
Giorgio da Sebenico.
His work represents the golden age of Dalmatian medieval art. He was
one of main artists of the Adriatic Renaissance, a tendency widespread
during the late 15th century in Venice, Dalmatia and in some locations
of the Italian Adriatic Coast, such as Ancona. According to Stanko
Kokole, "Although his style was firmly based on the Venetian Late
Gothic tradition, Giorgio was fascinated by the Florentine
Renaissance, the influence of which is apparent in his figure
sculptures." Influences and borrowings from many Florentine sculptors
including Donatello, Ghiberti, Luca della Robbia, Niccolò Pizzolo,
Antonio del Pollaiuolo, and
Jacopo della Quercia
Jacopo della Quercia can be detected in
His most beautiful achievement remains the Cathedral of St. James in
Šibenik for which he was a chief architect from 1441 till 1473.
The entire building was built solely of limestone from Istria, with no
wood or bricks used in the structure. The building presents all along
the perimeter a hedge composed of 72 stone-carved heads. On top of
this hedge, and precisely on the North side, Giorgio added two angels;
at the base of this work the artist engraved his signature. The task
before him was to build the choir, of which foundations had not been
laid, to raise and roof the nave which was only completed to the top
of the aisle vaults, and to covering the crossing by a lantern or
cupola. Unfortuately lack of funding and a fire delayed the
achievement of the construction. From 1 July 1477 the work on the
Cathedral of St. James was continued by an architect from Tuscany,
Niccolò di Giovanni Fiorentino.
Altar detail in the Cathedral of Saint Domnius
In Split he built several palaces. In 1448 he carved a stone altar in
the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, with a remarkable representation of
the flagellation of Christ. In
Dubrovnik he helped repairing the
Duke's Palace and helped building the Minčeta fortress in 1464 and
1465. He also distincted himself as urbanist. Around 1450 he made an
urban plan for Pag and contributed to the project and construction
Pelješac walls. He was at the same time sculptor, architect and
urban planner, showing in this his belonging to the cultural climate
and orientation of Renaissance.
In Italy, he worked in
Ancona where he built the Loggia dei Mercanti,
the portal of
San Francesco alle Scale
San Francesco alle Scale and the portal of
Sant'Agostino. During his career Renaissance style gradually
replaced the Gothic, in line with the European tendency during the
15th century for Gothic to become more elaborate sophisticated, giving
birth to the late Gothic style known in
Venice as Gotico Fiorito and
Flamboyant in France.
Among his disciples, the most known are
Andrea Alessi and Radmillo
Allegretti, whose works are in
Cattaro and Zara.
Juraj Dalmatinac (George the Dalmatian) monument in Zadar
Two Renaissance putti by Giorgio da
Sebenico with the consecration
inscription of the construction of the Cathedral of St. Jacob in
At the feet of the two Renaissance putti by the north apse of
Cathedral of St.James the artist signed in Latin: "hoc opus cuvarum
fecit magister Georgius Mathaei Dalmaticus", and on a contract
from 1441 he signed: "Georgius lapicida quondam Mathei de Jadra Civis
Sibenicenis" (trans. "Georgius sculptor son of Matheus from Zadar
citizen of Šibenik"). Those are only known signatures of the
References to the artist are most common under the name Giorgio da
Sebenico, and as
Giorgio Orsini, particularly in Italian
sources or in older English
sources. There are also references to him
as "Giorgio Dalmatico" or as "George the Dalmatian". He is
rarely listed among Croatian sculptors in English-language
sources. In Croatia, he is known under the Croatian name of Juraj
Matejev Dalmatinac. The family name of Orsini was never used by
the artist and it was adopted by his son, after the death of his
^ a b c d e f g Kokole
^ a b c d e f "Juraj Dalmatinac". General Encyclopedia of the Yugoslav
Lexicographical Institute (in Croatian). 4. Zagreb: Yugoslav
Lexicographical Institute. 1978.
^ Kokole, Schultz
^ a b Schultz, 83
^ Schultz, 77-79
^ Schultz, 77-83
Istria e Dalmazia - Uomini e tempi, Francesco Semi, Vanni Tacconi,
Del Bianco Editore, 1992, p. 159, n. 2
^ Life of Giorgio Orsini.
^ a b Fisković, Cvito; Gattin, Nenad (1963). Juraj Dalmatinac (in
Croatian). Zagreb: Zora. p. 73.
^ a b c Ivančević, Radovan (1998). Šibenska katedrala (in
Croatian). Šibenik: City Library "Juraj Šižgorić".
^ a b Architecture in Italy, 1400-1500 by Ludwig Heinrich Heydenreich,
Yale University Press; Second Revised edition, 1996;
ISBN 0-300-06467-5, pp. 74, 80, 101, 183 (index) & 184
Venice & the East: The Impact of the Islamic World on Venetian
Architecture 1100-1500 by Deborah Howard, Yale University Press, 2000.
ISBN 0-300-08504-4, pp. 43, 183, 275 (index)
^ Myths of Venice: The Figuration of a State by David Rosand,
University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 2001;
ISBN 0-8078-2641-3, p. 159
^ From Filippo Lippi to Piero della Francesca: Fra Carnevale and the
Making of a Renaissance Master by Keith Christiansen, Metropolitan
Museum of Art Publications, New York, 2005; ISBN 0-300-10716-1,
pp. 106, 132
^ Art in Renaissance Italy: 1350-1500 by Evelyn Welch, Oxford
University Press, 2001; ISBN 0-19-284279-X, pp. 65, 347 (index)
^ The Italian Renaissance by Peter Burke, Polity Press, Second revised
edition, Cambridge, 1999; ISBN 0-7456-2138-4, pp. 46, 296 (index)
^ a b The Concise Dictionary of Architectural and Design History, by
Frederic H. Jones, Crisp Publications, Los Altos, 1992;
ISBN 1-56052-069-8, p. 286
^ a b Quaderni Giuliani di Storia Anno XXIII (n°1 gennaio-giugno
2002), pp. 21-35; article "La letteratura italiana in Dalmazia: una
storia falsificata" by Giacomo Scotti
^ a b Sturgis, Russell (1902). Sturgis' Illustrated Dictionary of
Architecture and Building (1989 Unabridged Reprint of the 1901-2 ed.).
^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ancona". Encyclopædia
Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
^ a b Jackson, Frederick Hamilton (1908). The Shores of the Adriatic.
^ The drawings of the Venetian painters in the 15th and 16th centuries
by Hans Tietze, Erika Tietze-Conrat; Hacker Art Books, 1979, p. 105
^ Frommer's Italy 2012 by Darwin Porter, Danforth rince; John Wiley
& Sons, 15 July 2011, p. 378
^ Alberti, Mario; Tamaro, Attilio; Tolomei, Ettore (1917). Italy's
great war and her national aspirations. Alfieri & Lacroix.
^ Silani, Tomaso; Venture, Adolfo; Pais, Ettore; Molmenti, Pompeo
(1917). La Dalmazia monvmentale:con 100 tavole fvori testo. Alfieri
& Lacroix. p. 61.
^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Sebenico". Encyclopædia
Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
^ Sturgis, Jr., Russell (1901). A Dictionary of Architecture and
Building - Biographical, Historical, and Descriptive. 1 (2009
republished ed.). p. 81.
^ a b Jackson, Sir Thomas Graham (1885). Ragusa. Il palazzo rettorale,
il duomo, il reliquiario del teschia di s. Biagio (Estr. dall'Annuario
^ Lee Moqué, Alice (October 1914). "
Sebenico and her famous
"Giorgio"". Delightful Dalmatia. Funk & Wagnalls Company.
^ a b Vauchez, André (2000). Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages, vol I.
Routledge. p. 453. ISBN 9781579582821.
^ Encyclopedia of Visual Arts of the Yugoslav Lexicographical
Institute, vol 3 (Zagreb: 1964), article Juraj Dalmatinac.
^ F. A. Galvani, Il re d'armi di
Sebenico con illustrazioni storiche,
Venice, Dr. v. P. Naratovich, 1884, p. 160, n. 2
Kokole, Stanko, "Giorgio da Sebenico", Grove Art Online, Oxford Art
Online, Oxford University Press, accessed 23 Oct. 2013, subscription
Schulz, Anne Markham, "Giorgio da
Sebenico and the Workshop of
Giovanni Bon", online PDF from Brown University, Providence, accessed
October 23, 2013
Mariano Fabio, La
Loggia dei Mercanti
Loggia dei Mercanti in
Ancona e l’opera di Giorgio
di Matteo da Sebenico, Ed. Il lavoro editoriale,
M. Fabio, La facciata di S. Agostino in
Ancona e il suo restauro, in
Aa.Vv., Atti del Convegno "Arte e Spiritualità negli Ordini
Mendicanti, II", Tolentino, Roma 1994.
M. Fabio, La stagione adriatica del Gotico fiorito, in F. Mariano,
L’Architettura nelle Marche. Dall’Età classica al Liberty,Ed.
Nardini, Fiesole 1995, pp. 83–88.
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(in Spanish) Short biography in Spanish
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