Little is known of Benedetto Antelami’s life, active between 1178 and 1196, one of the greatest sculptors and architects of his time, the late Romanesque period.
His sensitivity to French stylistic developments and Gothic style was influenced by his apprenticeship in sculpture, probably at Saint-Trophîme in Arles, France.
His earliest recorded work is a marble relief representing the
Deposition (1178) set in the Cathedral of Parma, but he is chiefly known for three carved doorways and the allegorical figures and prophets decorating the nearby Baptistery.
The Baptistery was begun in 1196 and it has been suggested that Antelami may have overseen the whole structure as architect as well as sculptor.
His trademark are relief carvings emphasizing design by means of drapery details on elongate figures and tight compositions, while the faces of his figures are profoundly expressive.
He has also been credited with a hand in the decorations of
Fidenza Cathedral built between 1101 and 1106.