Jacopo della Quercia  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Jacopo della Quercia (c. 1374 – October 20, 1438) was an Italian sculptor of the Italian Renaissance, a contemporary of Brunelleschi, Ghiberti and Donatello. He is considered a precursor of Michelangelo.

In 1425 he accepted another major commission : the design of the round-arched Porta Magna of the San Petronio Basilica in Bologna. It would keep him busy for a good deal of the last thirteen years of his life and it is considered his masterwork. Each side of the door is flanked, first by a colonette with a spirally wound decoration, then nine busts of prophets and at the end five scenes from the Old Testament, carved into somewhat lower relief. In the Creation of Adam, he uses the same arrangement as in the Fonte Gaia (in Siena), but in reverse order. Michelangelo, who had visited Bologna in 1494, conceded that his Genesis in the Sistine Chapel ceiling in the Vatican, was based on these reliefs. The architrave above the door contains five reliefs with representations from the New Testament. The lunette contains three free-standing statues : Virgin and Child, Saint Petronius (with a model of Bologna in his right hand) and Saint Ambrose (carved by another sculptor Domenico Aimo in 1510). Originally this third statue had to represent the papal legate Cardinal Alemmano, but this intention was quickly abandoned after the cardinal had been evicted from Bologna. He relied heavily on the artists of his Bolognese workshop, such as Cino di Bartolo, for assistance in this project.

See also

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