By Costanza Beltrami

Francesco di Simone da Fiesole died on 24 March 1493 in Florence.

Little-known today, Francesco worked with some of the most important artists of the Renaissance and facilitated the spread of Tuscan designs to other Italian regions such as Romagna and the Marches. For example, he trained with Desiderio da Settignano, famous for his delicate small-scale portraits of children, such as the Christ Child at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. Later on, he worked at the Badia of Fiesoleunder the direction of genus architect Filippo Brunelleschi. After joining the guild of woodcarvers and stonecutters, in 1466 he opened a workshop in Florence. Yet he soon moved to the city of Forlí in Romagna, where he realized a funerary monument to Barbara Manfredi in the church of San Biagio. This work was a success: Francesco replicated the central Virgin and Child relief many times in his career, and the sepulcher’s overall structure was copied by others in the surrounding region.

Francesco returned to Florence round 1468, when he is documented working at the Monastery of the Santissima Annunziata. He was then employed at the Hospital of San Matteoand at the cathedral of Prato, a nearby city. From 1477 onward, he collaborated with another leading Renaissance artist, the painter, sculptor and goldsmith Andrea del Verrocchio, perhaps best remembered for his bold equestrian statue of military leader Bartolomeo Colleoni in Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice. Francesco’s masterpiece, the funerary monument of alessandro Tartagni in the Church of San Domenico, Bologna, belongs to the same period. Influenced by the style of Bernardo Rossellino and Desiderio da Settignano, this tomb contains a tondo of the Virgin and Child which generated several copies, especially in stucco. Francesco worked in Bologna for a few years before returning to Florence in the early 1490s, where he proposed a project for the facade of the Duomo and continued his sculptural work. Documentary information on his last years his scarce.

Sources: “FERRUCCI, Francesco di Simone da Fiesole.” Benezit Dictionary of Artists. Oxford art Online. Oxford University Press,; Sandro Bellesi, “FERRUCCI, Francesco.” Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, vol. 47 (1997),

Sepulcher of Barbara Manfredi, 1466–7, now in the Abbazia di San Mercuriale, Forlí. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Sepulcher of Alessandro Tartagni, after 1477, Church of San Domenico, Bologna. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Madonna and Child, Francesco di Simone Ferrucci, c. 1470. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

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