(b. 1396, Firenze, d. 1472, Firenze)

Funeral Monument to the Anti-pope John XXIII

Gilded pietra serena, 713 x 200 x 213 cm
Baptistery, Florence

Donatello entered into a type of workshop partnership with Michelozzo in 1425. Both artists worked together right into the 1430s on a whole series of extensive projects which included the funeral monument to the anti-pope John XXIII. The artists positioned the funeral monument between two columns inside the Baptistery. In the lower zone, in relief, the figures of Faith, Love and Hope are portrayed. Above it, supported by four corbels, is the dead man's sarcophagus which serves as a base for a bier. This manner of lying in state was unknown to funeral sculpture of the Trecento. The funeral monument is canopied by a curtain that is raised to a peak, emphasizing the theatrical quality of the scene. Above the dead man, a relief depicting the Madonna with Child can be seen.

The overall design of the monument is from Donatello, but in the execution he was heavily assisted by Michelozzo. The bronze effigy is certainly by Donatello, the marble reliefs of the Madonna with Child and the Virtues are by Michelozzo.

Given its enormous size and the magnificent diversity of its structuring, this work became the the precurzor of an entire seriesd of later funeral monuments, whwich were erected in Florenece - mainly in Santa Croce - during the Quattrocento.