GIOVANNI DA CAMPIONE
(b. ca. 1320, Campione, d. ca. 1375, Campione)
Tomb of Cangrande della Scala (detail)c. 1333
Santa Maria Antica, Verona
An unbroken evolution of equestrian statues in a funerary context occurred in trecento Verona. It started with a small relief on the sarcophagus of Alberto I della Scala (died 1301) inside Santa Maria Antica, With Giovanni Campione's outdoor tomb of Cangrande della Scala (died 1329) the equestrian became freestanding and life-size. The tomb crowns the portal of the church, a copy replacing the original, now in Museo del Castelvecchio.
Cangrande is in full armour, his winged helmet thrown back and his sword held aloft. His look of self-satisfaction and lordly insouciance are blatant and his slightly awkward smile reminds one of Archaic Greek figures.
This work, not without Germanic influence, spawned a northern Italian tradition for equestrian monuments; Cangrande's successors were also honoured with nearby tombs whose equestrian images lack the vigorous impertinence of Cangrande.
The equestrian statue was attributed to Giovanni da Campione on the basis of strong similarities between the equestrian statue of St Alexander by Giovanni da Campione in the Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo and that of Cangrande della Scala in Verona. However, this attribution is rejected by many scholars.