Gian Jacopo Caraglio
The Italian copperplate engraver, medal-maker, gem-cutter, and goldsmith Gian Jacopo Caraglio was born around 1505 in Verona or Parma. Based on some of the signatures, various authors presume that Parma was his place of birth. Many of Caraglio’s works were influenced by Marcantonio Raimondi (1480 – 1534), who primarily engraved in the 3rd decade of the 16th Century based on the drawings of Raffael (1483 – 1520). Gian Jacopo Caraglio was in Rome at the same time. After the destruction of his workshop during the "Sacco di Roma" in 1527, he went to Venice and worked there until 1537.
During this Roman and Venetian period, he produced prints that were primarily based on Francesco Mazzola (1503 – 40), Raffael, Perin del Vaga (1501 – 47), Baccio Bandinelli (1488 – 1560), Rosso Fiorentino (1494 – 1540), Tizian (around 1490 – 1576), and other contemporary artists. He first created the copperplate engravings of the "Annunciation" and the portrait of Pietro Aretino after Tizian. In 1526, Caraglio made the copperplate engraving of the "Adoration of the Shepherds" after the "Birth of Christ" by Francesco Mazzola. Precisely this print served the artist as the model for the hardstone carving of the "Birth of Christ" in quartz.
Possibly at the recommendation of Pietro Aretino (1492 – 1556), Gian Jacopo Caraglio went to Poland in 1539. No prints were created during this visit to Poland. It is possible that the artist lacked the stimulation from the Italian artists. Beginning on July 3, 1545, Caraglio entered into the service of King Sigismund I of Poland (1467 – 1548). After the latter’s death, the artist remained at the court of King Sigismund II August (1520 – 72) as "servitor regius" until the end of his life. A cameo with the portrait of Barbara Radziwill (1520 – 1551), the wife of the king, was created during this time. In addition, Gian Jacopo Caraglio made two cameos with the bust of Sigismund II and a medal with the bust of Sigismud II. In 1552, he followed the king’s court to its second royal seat of Vilnius, where he worked for a short time. During the months between May and August 1552, he travelled to Italy. A cameo by Caraglio with the "Portrait Bust of Queen Bona in Profile" is one of his known works from 1554.
Gian Jacopo Caraglio died in Cracow on August 26, 1565. He is buried here in the Carmelite Church.