Della Quercia - Encyclopedia

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DELLA QUERCIA, or [[Della Fonte, Jacopo]] (1374-1438), Italian sculptor, was born at Siena. He was the son of a goldsmith of repute, Pietro d'Agnolo, to whom he doubtless owed much of his training. There are no records of his early life until the year 1394, when he made an equestrian statue of Gian Tedesco. He is next heard of at Florence in 1402, when he was one of six artists who submitted designs for the great gates of the baptistery, in which competition Ghiberti was the victor. From Florence he seems to have gone to Lucca, where in 1406 he executed one of his finest works, the monument of Ilaria del Caretto, wife of Paolo Guinigi. It is uncertain if he visited Ferrara in 1408; but at the end of that year he was engaged in negotiations which resulted in his acceptance of the commission for the famous Fonte Gaia, at Siena, early in 1409. This work was not seriously begun by him until 1414, and was only finished in 1419. In 1858 the remains of the fountain were removed to the Opera del Duomo, where they are now preserved; a copy of the original by Sarrocchi being erected on the site. After another visit to Lucca in 1422, he returned to Siena, and in March 1425 undertook the contract for the doors of S. Petronio, Bologna. He is known, in following years, to have been to Milan, Verona, Ferrara and Venice; but the rest of his life was chiefly divided between his native city and Bologna. In 1430 he finished the great font of S. Giovanni at Siena, which he had begun in 1417, contributing himself only one of the bas-reliefs, "Zacharias in the Temple," the others being by Ghiberti, Donatello and other sculptors. Among the work known to have been done by Jacopo, may be mentioned also the reliefs of the predella of the altar of S. Frediano at Lucca (1422); and the Bentivoglio monu ment which was unfinished at the time of his death on the 10th of October 1438. Jacopo della Quercia's work exercised a powerful influence on that of the artists of the later Italian Renaissance. He himself reflects not a little of the Gothic spirit, admirably intermixed with some of the best qualities of neo-classicism. He was an artist whose powers have hardly yet received the recognition they undoubtedly deserve.

See C. Cornelius, Jacopo della Quercia: eine Kunsthistorische Studio (1896), and works relating generally to the arts in Siena. (E. F. S.)

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