(b. ca. 1245, Colle di Valdelse, d. ca. 1310, Firenze)


Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

The ciborium over the high altar of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere is similar to that in San Paolo fuori le Mura in type but simpler in construction and somewhat modified in both its form and proportions. It is inscribed HOC OPUS FECIT ARNULFUS ANNI DNI M CCLXXXXIII M NOVEBER D XX on the pedestal of the front left-hand column, although this is now hidden by Baroque alterations.

In this ciborium the decorative program has been drawn up as part of a larger scheme to honour the patron saint of the church. Four figures stand at the corner, St Cecilia and the most important characters of her life, Sts Valerian, Tiburtius and Urban. Alluding to the source of St Cecilia's inspiration, the spandrels of each side of the archivolts show the four evangelists and two prophets, while her purity and sagacity is underlined by the presence of two of the Wise Virgins. In the flatter gables above, the flying angels of the earlier ciborium have been replaced by more solid kneeling angels, and there is evidence that Arnolfo was by now limiting his direct involvement in the actual carving of the sculptures.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.