MARIANI, after establishing himself as a successful sculptor in Vicenza
and the Veneto, removed at age 30 to Rome, where his work provided an
important bridge between the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
family came originally from Siena, began his career in the workshop
of Lorenzo and Agostino Rubini in Vicenza, and was probably involved
in the statuary decoration at the Teatro Olimpico of Vicenza, designed
by history's most influential architect, Andrea
Palladio. By 1589 he was one of the nine sculptors commissioned
by Vincenzo Scamozzi to complete the
acroteriali atop the Jacopo Sansovino-designed
Marciana Library in Piazza di S. Marco at Venice. Mariani contributed
three of the stone statues -- Perserpine, Hymen (destroyed
when the nearby belltower collapsed in the early 1900s) and Aeolus
-- in the period 1588-91.
From about 1591
until 1597, when he removed with his assistants to Rome, Mariani maintained
his own sculpture workshop in Vicenza. During that period he executed
the six oversize stucco sculptures of members of the Cornaro family
that adorn the grand salon of the Andrea Palladio-designed Villa
Cornaro at Piombino Dese. Other works of the period were a series
of at least seven memorial medals, as well as statues for Vicenza's
Basilica and statuary embellishments for the facade of the Church of
S. Pietro in the same city.
to Rome in 1597, Mariani launched immediately into major sculpture
projects at the Church of S. Giovanni in Laterano (Lancellotti Chapel),
the Church of S. Pudenziana (Caetani Chapel) and, soon after, the
Church of S. Bernardo alle Terme (eight stucco saints, acclaimed
by one writer as Mariani's masterwork). Later he executed commissions
at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican (stucco statues, Chapel of
Clement VIII, 1599-1601), the Pantheon (Chapel of S. Giuseppe, 1601)
and at the Churches of S. Maria sopra Minerva (Religion and Saints
Peter and Paul, Aldobrandini Chapel, 1604) and S. Maria Maggiore
(marble angel above Sacristry; modelli for metal angels holding
painting of Madonna and Child; marble statue of S. John the Baptist;
marble relief with crown of thorns [completed by his student Francesco
Mochi], Chapel of Paul V, 1607-11). With Ambrogio Buonvicino, he
was retained, 1606, to execute four angels for the baldacchino
mobile in S. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.
in Rome is evidenced by his admission to membership, 1600, in the
Virtuosi al Pantheon, Rome's oldest social organization for
artists, and to the Accademia di S. Luca, 1604.