(b. ca. 1245, Colle di Valdelse, d. ca. 1310, Firenze)

Tomb of Cardinal de Braye

after 1282
San Domenico, Orvieto

In the 1280s and 1290s Arnolfo lived mainly in Rome, where he was in charge of a moderate-sized workshop. Several signed works from this period survive, the earliest being the tomb of Cardinal Guillaume de Braye (d 1282) in San Domenico, Orvieto, which is inscribed HOC OPUS FECIT ARNOLFUS. The tomb was dismantled in 1680 and reassembled in 1934, but in an incomplete form; the architectural frame survives only in fragments (Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Orvieto).

With the de Braye monument Arnolfo not only created one of the most important and lavish tombs of the Duecento but he also introduced a new type of wall tomb, surpassing in both size and richness of decoration the slightly earlier wall tombs of Clement IV (reg 1265–68) and Hadrian V (reg 1276) in San Francesco, Viterbo. The decorative richness is principally evident in the increased use of figure sculpture and the animated scenes involving groups of figures.

The centre of the tomb consists of a chamber enclosing the effigy, with curtains swept back by two deacons on either side. In the upper section are the Virgin and Child enthroned, with the kneeling figure of the deceased accompanied by St Mark (the patron saint of the Cardinal's titular church) and St Dominic, forming a monumental, triangular composition. Both the overall structure and the individual motifs of this tomb were still being followed in the 14th century: a particularly faithful imitation is the tomb of Benedict XI (reg 1303-1304) in San Domenico, Perugia.