By Anne Leader and Livia Lupi

Sculptor Jacopo della Quercia died on 20 October 1438 in Siena. Seen today as the most significant Italian sculptor working outside of Florence, Jacopo made numerous public and private monuments in his hometown as well as in Bologna, Lucca, and Ferrara. One of the competitors in the 1401 contest to make a new set of bronze doors for the Florentine Baptistery (won by Lorenzo Ghiberti), Jacopo is counted among the trailblazers who brought new attention to classicism in Italian sculpture.

One of Jacopo’s major commissions was the Fonte Gaia, a sculpted fountain in Piazza del Campo, at the heart of Siena. He presented a final project for the Fonte on 22 January 1419, ten years after the commission was originally assigned. The Fonte Gaia’s long gestation is probably due to Jacopo’s work in Lucca during the second decade of the fifteenth century. Between 1413 and 1421 he sculpted two tomb stones and a marble altarpiece for Lorenzo Trenta and his wife, buried in the church of San Frediano in Lucca.

Later on in his career, Jacopo left Tuscany, starting work on the main portal for the church of San Petronio in Bologna in 1425. This work was left unfinished due to Jacopo’s death in 1438. Interestingly, Jacopo did not solely work on stone and marble, but was also an accomplished wood sculptor, as demonstrated by the pair of wood sculptures representing the Virgin and the archangel Gabriel for the Collegiata of San Gimignano (1421).

Reference: Elinor M. Richter. “Jacopo della Quercia.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. Web.

Bortolotti, “Jacopo di Piero (Jacopo della Quercia).” Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, Enciclopedia Treccani.

Further reading: Charles Seymour. Jacopo della Quercia, Sculptor. Yale University Press, 1973.

Giulietta Chelazzi and Giovanni Previtali Dini. Jacopo della Quercia nell’arte del suo tempo. Centro Di, 1975.

Tomb of Ilaria del Carretto, detail, 1406-13, marble, Cathedral of San Martino, Lucca.

Tomb of Ilaria del Carretto, 1406-13, marble, Cathedral of San Martino, Lucca.

Zacharias in the Temple, Baptistry Font, 1428-30, gilt bronze relief, Baptistry, Siena.

Main Portal, overview, 1425-39, marble, San Petronio, Bologna.

Expulsion of Adam and Eve, panel from San Petronio main portal, 1425-39, marble, San Petronio, Bologna.

Study for the Fonte Gaia, 1409, pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash on vellum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1949 (49.141).

Rhea Sylvia, 1414-19, marble, Palazzo Pubblico, Siena.

Announcing Angel and Virgin Annunciate, 1421, painted wood, Collegiata, San Gimignano.

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