(b. 1436, Lucca, d. 1501, Lucca)


Italian sculptor, painter, architect and engineer. He is generally considered the most important Tuscan marble sculptor working outside Florence during the second half of the 15th century; he is also documented as a painter, although no works have been attributed to him. Civitali's training and early years are undocumented, but it is likely that he worked in Antonio Rossellino's Florentine workshop during the 1460s. He is first mentioned in 1468, when he appraised Rossellino's tomb of Filippo Lazzari in Pistoia Cathedral.

Stylistically Civitali's sculpture is related to the work of Donatello, Desiderio da Settignano, the Rossellino brothers, Mino da Fiesole and Benedetto da Maiano. Civitali's amalgam of sources is quite complex, yet his sculptures maintain an equilibrium more common to works of the early 15th century. He possessed a certain originality as a designer, and his sculpture demonstrates that he was a technician of considerable accomplishment.

He is known to have sculpted statues of Adam, Eve, Abraham, Saints Zacchariah and Elizabeth, and others for the chapel of San Giovanni Battista in Genoa Cathedral. His free-standing chapel, the "tempietto", built in 1484 to enshrine the Holy Face of Lucca, stands in the left nave of the Cathedral of San Martino, Lucca. The Duomo contains also a virtual anthology of Matteo's sculpture, since he worked at the San Romano Altar, and also sculpted the St Sebastian in the back of the Holy Face Shrine, and two monumental graves in the right transept.

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