By Anne Leader

Sculptor Niccolò dell’Arca died on 2 March 1494 in Bologna. Possibly born in Bari, Niccolò derived his name from his work on the tomb, or arca, of St. Dominic at his eponymous church in Bologna. Niccolò made additions for the magnificent canopied tomb from 1469 until his death in 1494. His contract stipulated that he was to decorate the tomb’s lid with figures depicting God the Father, angels, the Evangelists, and a pietà as well as various saints. The lid was completed in 1473 but the project remained unfinished at Niccolò’s death. Michelangelo famously supplied the figure of St. Proculus for the marble ensemble in 1494.

Dell’Arca also worked in terra-cotta, producing dramatic figure groups like his Lamentation for the Bolognese church of Santa Maria della Vita (1463) and a group of Mary and Saints (1478) that were installed over the door to the public palace in Bologna.

Reference: Steven Bule. “Niccolò dell’Arca.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. .

Mourning of the Marys over the Dead Christ, 1462-63, terracotta with traces of polychromy, Santa Maria della Vita, Bologna

Tomb of St Dominic: Angel Holding a Candle, 1473-94, marble, San Domenico, Bologna

Madonna di Piazza, 1478, terracotta, Palazzo del Comune, Bologna

St Dominic, 1474, terracotta, San Domenico, Bologna

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