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

Monument to Bartolomeo Aragazzi: Relief

Cathedral, Montepulciano

The surviving fragments of the dismembered Aragazzi monument at Montepulciano are almost exclusively the work of Michelozzo.

The two reliefs that decorated the sarcophagus (still in the church, now Montepulciano Cathedral) are closely based on Roman processional reliefs. More dynamic are two reliefs of angels (Victoria and Albert Museum, London) once flanking a full-length male figure, perhaps the risen Christ in Montepulciano Cathedral. The antiquarianism can be related to the cultural background of the patron, Bartolomeo Aragazzi (whose effigy by Michelozzo is also in the cathedral), who, as secretary and then chancellor to Pope Martin V, was a pioneering researcher of Classical texts.

The Aragazzi monument anticipates Bernardo Rossellino's Bruni monument (1444; Santa Croce, Florence) and Desiderio da Settignano's Marsuppini monument (c. 1453; Santa Croce, Florence) in associating sculptural antiquarianism with the humanist avant-garde.

The picture shows one of the two reliefs, in which the deceased is presented to the Virgin and Child. The traditional scene is treated in a quite unprecedented fashion: Aragazzi's mother, the youths portrayed in the first scene and the three children interceding with the Virgin on his behalf.

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