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

Tomb of Ilaria del Carretto

Marble, 244 x 88 x 67 cm (sarcophagus)
Cathedral of San Martino, Lucca

Compared to the massive, simplified forms of Jacopo's earlier work in Ferrara, the figure of Ilaria is a masterpiece of delicacy, intricacy and finesse. Her head gently resting on a pair of puffy, tasselled pillows, Ilaria lies in eternal repose, her hands softly folded across her chest. In a side view, beautifully swelling curves rise in a sweep from the faithful dog curled at her feet to the high wide collar of the Gothic dress that frames her lovely face. The most unusual feature of the tomb, however, is the frieze of nude putti carrying heavy swags of leaves and fruits that decorates the sides of the sarcophagus. Though putti were a familiar motif on Classical funerary monuments, this is the first use of them on a large scale in the Renaissance. Their robust, fleshly forms stand out in marked contrast to the delicate, fine-boned effigy of Ilaria.

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