VISCARDI, Girolamo
(b. 1467, Laino, d. after 1522, Genova)

Tomb of the Dukes of Orleans

Abbey Church, Saint-Denis

In 1502 Louis XII commissioned a tomb in honour of his ancestors, the Dukes of Orleans, which was originally set up in the church of the Celestins in Paris, but is now at St Denis. The contract of 1502 mentions the Genoese sculptors, Michele d'Aria and Gerolamo Viscardi, and the two Florentines, Donato di Battista Bend and Benedetto da Rovezzano, who had settled in Genoa. This tomb shows a compromise scheme which was to become common in the next decades, consisting of a purely Italian sarcophagus supporting a recumbent figure, or "gisant" in the traditional French manner. The novelty of this tomb, apart from the strictly classical arcade round the sarcophagus, lies in the introduction in this arcade of the figures of the twelve apostles, which replace the "pleurants" usual in French tombs.