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

Expulsion from Paradise

Santa Maria della Scala, Siena

Even in its now-ruined state the Fonte Gaia conveys some of the splendour which it originally added to the centre of Siena and underscore the civic imagery important for such a site. A central relief of the Virgin and Child recalls the city's dedication to Mary. She is flanked to the left and right by niches containing figures of virtues. Although the original plan called for figures of Gabriel and the Virgin Annunciate facing one another at the ends of the wings, a revision ordered in 1415 substituted reliefs of the Creation of Adam and the Expulsion from Paradise. The rounded, soft forms of Quercia's bodies refer to Etruscan terracotta sculpture most likely already available from looted local tomb sites.

The relief of the Expulsion on the Fonte Gaia is both better preserved and more dramatic than the Creation relief. The figures of Adam, Eve and the Avenging Angel, all shown parallel to the relief plane, appear too large to have passed through Jacopo's gates of Paradise. The Angel must use physical force to expel the sinners. The striding pose of Adam can be related to an antique source - a Meleager-type sarcophagus - yet it is modified by an awareness of Nicola Pisano's figure style.

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