While we know a good deal about the Roman activity of Ercole Ferrata, and his Neapolitan origins have become clearer, almost nothing (other than brief references in Baldinucci’s biography) has emerged about his training with the sculptor Tomaso Orsolino, Lombard by birth but Genoese by adoption. In particular, the project at the Certosa di Pavia, where Orsolino’s workshop was active for about twenty years, remains a key point for clarifying the involvement of the master’s more talented pupils. A stylistic re-reading of Orsolino’s output for the Carthusian monastery thus reveals, distinctly and for the first time – albeit in only a single sculpture – the hand of the young Ercole Ferrata, before his emancipation from a seven-year apprenticeship and his journey to Naples.
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