(active c. 1404-1443)


Italian sculptor, also known: Michele di Niccolaio; Michele di Niccolo detto Scalcagna; Master of the Pellegrini Chapel. He was an assistant in Lorenzo Ghiberti's workshop during the execution of the north door of the Baptistery in Florence (1404-07), and the influence of Ghiberti is apparent throughout his work, which largely consists of small-scale terracotta sculpture. He remained in Florence during the 1420s and probably established his own workshop, producing a vast number of small devotional reliefs in terracotta, originally polychromed and gilt, such as the Virgin and Child with Angels beneath a Niche (c. 1420; Prato, Museo Comune). These almost certainly were executed in serial fashion for sale to private clients. Michele is credited with the terracotta tomb of Francesco Roselli (c. 1430; Arezzo, San Francesco)

By 1433-05 he had left Tuscany for the Veneto, where he has been identified with the sculptor of the Pellegrini Chapel in Santa Anastasia, Verona (executed in 1433-08). This is Michele's first independently documented work and is considered to be his masterpiece. In place of the customarily frescoed narrative scenes, Michele encased the chapel walls with an impressive terracotta revetment, originally polychromed, consisting of 24 individual panels depicting the Life, Passion and Death of Christ. Among the most notable are the Kiss of Judas and the Adoration of the Magi, the latter particularly showing an intrinsic debt in its gentle style and architectural motifs to Ghiberti's bronze panels for the north doors of the Baptistery in Florence.