DONATELLO
(b. ca. 1386, Firenze, d. 1466, Firenze)

Funeral Monument of Cardinal Rainaldo Brancacci (detail)

c. 1427
Marble relief, 54 x 78 cm
Sant'Angelo a Nilo, Naples

The picture shows the relief representing the Assumption of the Virgin.

In the works that followed the statues in the Baptistry of Siena - the Tombstone of Bishop Giovanni Pecci in the Cathedral of Siena, the Assumption of the Virgin carved in Pisa in 1427 for the Brancacci tomb in Sant'Angelo a Nilo (Naples), the Christ Giving the Keys to St Peter of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Pazzi Madonna of the Berlin Museum - Donatello returned to the flattened relief, pushing its expressive possibilities to the utmost limits.

Apart from the format of the relief and the exceptional, almost graphic way in which the surface is treated , the theme of the Assumption of the Virgin is also extremely rarely found on a funeral monument. Likely reasons for the choice of this unusual motif were the close links between the dead man and the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, for there the worship of Mary and observing the feast day of her assumption were held to be particularly important.