By Anne Leader
Dalmatian sculptor Francesco Laurana was dead by 12 March 1502 in the city of Marseille, France, where he had worked at least three times over the course of his career, from 1461 to ‘66; 1475 to ‘83; and from 1492 until his death in 1502. He began his career in Ragusa, formerly part of the Venetian state and now known as Dubrovnik (Croatia). His first major commission was to form part of the team of sculptors responsible for decorating the Triumphal Arch of Castel Nuovo in Naples. Laurana also worked as a medallist for the Duke of Anjou in Provence in the 1460s and moved to Sicily at the turn of the decade. From there he would go back to Naples and France, where he was busy in Avignon and Marseille. He is best known for his female portraits that have ideal Renaissance beauty tempered with enough individuality to make sitters recognizable. A lack of documents or signatures make his works difficult to authenticate.
Beatrice of Aragon, 1471-4, marble. The Frick Collection, New York. Bequest of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 1961
Triumphal Arch of Alfonso I (detail), 1453-68, marble. Castelnuovo, Naples
Portrait of a Woman, 1470s, marble, traces of pigment. The Frick Collection, New York. Henry Clay Frick Bequest
A Princess of the House of Aragon, c. 1475, marble. The National Gallery, Washington, D.C., Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937.1.119
Medal of Louis XI of Provence, ca. 1465, bronze.
Saint Cyricus, 1470-80, marble. The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles, California), 96.SA.6