(b. 1548, Cambrai, d. 1615, Paris)

Statue of Moses

Niccolini Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence

The Niccolini Chapel was constructed from 1585 by Giovanni Antonio Dosio. The appeal of the chapel is exercised in part through is polychromy. In the centre of the lateral walls are tomb-chests with tabernacles over them, each containing a seated figure, on one side Aaron and on the other Moses. Beside them are the Virtues. All figures are signed by Pietro Francavilla.

The picture shows the seated figure of Moses. The statue is related to the Moses of Michelangelo: the position of the knees has been reversed, and the head, turned over the right shoulder, is balanced by a book resting on the left thigh. While Francavilla's Moses lacks the solidity of Michelangelo's, it has a gravity and weight of meaning of which Michelangelo could not but have approved.