* 1610 Pellio Inferiore (Pellio Intelvi)
† 1686 Rom
Among Italian baroque sculptors Ercole Ferrata – without a doubt - occupies one the first ranks. Ercole Ferrata was born at Pellio Inferiore in 1610. The young boy was valetudinary and was taught at home. Despite his unstable health, Ercole Ferrata was supposed to become a sculptor, so Tommaso Orsolino from Genoa, a friend of the family, was in charge of his education.
The young Ercole Ferrata spent seven years in Genoa, enduring his teacher´s severity, before he went to Naples. There he was active as a mason for architectural decorations, however, in the 1630s and 1640s he made plastics as commissions form noble families.
The last mention in Naples was in 1645. After a sojourn in L´Aquila, Ercole Ferrata settled in Rome in 1647. In the Eternal City Ercole Ferrata soon came in contact with Gianlorenzo Bernini, the dominating figure of baroque sculpting. For Bernini Ercole Ferrata made several sculptures in St. Peter, which marked the beginning of a life-long friendship. Ercole Ferrata was in highest artist circles: Ercole Ferrata also achieved a cooperation with Pietro da Cortona; for whom he did the stucco works in the Chiesa Nuova (1648-1651). Ercole Ferrata also got in contact with Alessandro Algardi and was active in the decoration of S. Nicola da Tolentino between 1652 and 1656.
Ercole Ferrata soon became established in Rome, and was accepted into the Accademia di San Luca in 1654. In 1666 he was elected the academy´s director, however, he rejected the offer. Instead he led a Roman sculpting academy for Florentine artists together with C. Ferri. The school had been founded by Cosimo III, grand duke of Tuscany.
Ercole Ferrata soon ran a large and renowned workshop in Rome. Works by Ercole Ferrata are of consistent quality and follow a baroque classicism.
Ercole Ferrata died in his adopted hometown Rome in 1686.