(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 Bartolomeo Aragazzi Bidding Farewell to his Family. The scene was executed in the manner of a classical sarcophagus. The two reliefs are so rigorously classical that in one the religious content is not immediately discernible, and in the other there is no religious content to discern.

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