QUERCIA, Jacopo della
(b. ca. 1367, Quercia Grossa, d. 1438, Siena)

Tomb of Ilaria del Carretto

1406-13
Marble, sarcophagus 244 x 88 x 66,5 cm, effigy 204 x 69 cm
Cathedral of San Martino, Lucca

Ilaria del Carretto, who died at aged twenty-six after giving birth to her second child in 1405, was the second wife of Paolo Guinigi, the local merchant tyrant in Luca. Her tomb, indebted to French precedents, was partially destroyed by the Lucchese in 1430 after Guinigi's expulsion and has been moved at least twice. What remains is a sarcophagus and an effigy, strongly influenced by northern types and courtly costumes - not surprising given Guinigi's commercial links with Burgundy and France. A dog, symbol of fidelity, looks up expectantly at his mistress from her feet. Ilaria seems to be sleeping with her hands over her swollen abdomen to remind us of the cause of her death. Her breasts fall to either side naturalistically, underlying the fact that her flesh is of this world.