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

Right reliefs on the portal: 1. Sacrifices of Cain and Abel

Istrian stone, 82 x 68 cm
San Petronio, Bologna

The five scenes on the right lateral support of the main portal of San Petronio are, from top to bottom, the (i) Sacrifices of Cain and Abel, (ii) Cain killing Abel, (iii) Disembarking from Noah's Ark, (iv) Drunkenness of Noah, and (v) Sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham.

The picture shows the relief of Sacrifices of Cain and Abel. For Quercia the relief field is dominated not by an artificially constructed setting, but by the human figure, and certain of the scenes generate great imaginative power. This psychological aspect of the reliefs, the defining of emotions and temperament, is impressed on us in Sacrifices of Cain and Abel, where the brothers are treated as a physical embodiment of the emotions by which they are inspired.

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