Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Jacopo Della Quercia

Sculptor, born (it is said) at Quercia Grossa, near Siena, 1374; died 20 October, 1438. His father, a goldsmith, taught him design. When about sixteen he made an equestrian wooden statue for the funeral of Azzo Ubaldini; he is believed to have left Siena soon after this, owing to party strife and disturbances. In 1401 he reappeared in Florence, a competitor for the gates of S. Giovanni (assigned to Ghiberti); in 1408 he executed in Ferrara various sculptures, notably the Madonna of the Pomegranate. One of his most exquisite work, the tomb of Ilaria del Carretto, second wife of Paolo Guinigi, in the Cathedral of Lucca dates about 1413. The Gothic altar-piece at S Frediano, Lucca, with figures of Our Lady and saints (c. 1416) is by him. He spent ten years on his Fonte Gaia, in the Piazza del Campo, Siena; it has figures of Our Lady and of the theological and cardinal virtues, reliefs of the creation of man and expulsion from paradise, and various water-spouting animal forms. The fountain was restored by Tito Sarocchi in 1868. Also in Siena (Baptistery of S. Giovanni) is the font made from Jacopo's designs (1417-30). The surmounting statuette, the Baptist, the marble reliefs of the Prophets, and one of the six bronze-gilt panels (Zacharias led out of the Temple) are from his hand. A very important work is the great doorway of S. Petronio, Bologna, with fifteen bas-reliefs from Genesis (1425-38). Raphael and Michelangelo are both indebted to these sculptures. In the ambulatory of S. Giacomo, Bologna, is the monument of Antonio Bentivoglio (d. 1435). The mandorla of the Assumption, Sta Maria del Fiore, Florence, has been claimed for Jacopo, but modern authorities give it to Nanni del Banco. The forms of Jacopa are highly tactile, graceful, and animated.

M. L. Handley.