Giovanni Battista Pedrozzi (there are many spelling variations of the name), was born on 15 Sept 1711 in Ligaino, in the municipality of Pregassona, near Lugano, where he also died on 5 May 1778. Like his relation, Jeronimo Francesco Andreioli, the Catholic ‘Italian’ worked at the Benedictine monastery of Ottobeuren before becoming a court stucco artist in Bayreuth, where he was active from 1749-64. At Würzburg Residence, he was influenced by the famous rococo stucco artist Antonio Giuseppe Bossi, who also came from the Lake Lugano region. From 1740 until he moved to the margravate he decorated Castle Heidecksburg in Rudolfstadt. In addition to working at the New Palace of the Eremitage and the New Palace of Bayreuth, he also worked in the Trinity Church in Neudrossenfeld and in the Palace Church in Bayreuth.

It is him we have to thank above all for ‘Bayreuth rococo’ , with its  playful ornamentation and skilful tendrils of flowers. He also had a special gift for animal figures, which is why, after leaving Bayreuth, he went on to create lifesize birds and other animals at the newly established porcelain factory in Berlin.

As churchwarden, he was like his colleague Rudolf Albini responsible for the church finances in the Catholic community in Bayreuth. He had only one son, who was born in 1747, but who died early. At the baptism of  Andreoli’s first son Joannes Battista, Pedrozzi was his godfather. Pedrozzi’s younger brother Giuseppe was a court stucco artist, evidence of whose work in 1753 can be seen in particular in the Catholic Oratory in Friedrichstrasse, and Pedrozzi’s nephew Jonas worked with him in Neudrossenfeld.

Picture: The bishop’s staff and mitre on the ceiling of the Palace Church could  lead you to believe that the Catholic artist wanted to play a trick on his evangelical employers, but in fact the items are a reference to Jesus Christ, ‘bishop of our souls’.

Bibliography: Wolfgang Jahn, Rococo stucco. Bayreuth court artists in margravial palaces and in Würzburg, Eichstätt, Ansbach and Ottobeuren.