Aristodemo Costoli, Funerary monument of Arnolfo di Cambio
- Aristodemo Costoli
- Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
- Specific location
- Interior, left aisle, first bay from entrance, wall, right
- Sculpture, engraving, painting
- Height: 240 cm ca.; Width: 240 cm ca.;
- White marble, pigments
Funerary monument to Arnolfo di Cambio (Colle di Val d'Elsa, Siena, ca. 1240/1245 - Florence, 1302/1310), sculpted by Aristodemo Costoli in 1842-1844, with epigraph composed by Grazzini.
The form is inspired by the 15th-century tributes to Brunelleschi, Giotto and Squarcialupi, seen to the side and on the opposite wall, that is, with the portrait bust of the deceased within a clypeus and the epigraph panel below. Indeed, it was expressly conceived to continue the series of monuments commemorating the great master builders of the Opera, also celebrating the cultural primacy of the Florentine genius.
Arnolfo di Cambio was Master Builder of the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore from 1296 until his death. In this period, he prepared the plans of the new Cathedral, erected the first levels of the facade, partially decorating it, and built the first sections of the side walls. Sources tell us that Arnolfo was buried in the ancient basilica of Santa Reparata, but his tomb has never been found. Only in 1843 would it be decided to create a funerary monument to the great architect, at the will of Grand Duke Leopold and on the occasion of the renewal of the Cathedral decoration and furnishings, supervised by architect Gaetano Baccani. This was in the wake of the renewed romantic interest for the Middle Ages in general, and in particular for Florence, in the splendour of the 13th and 14th centuries.
Arnolfo is portrayed as a middle-aged man, with sturdy neck, large head and curly hair. The expression and the pose are of careful and demanding meditation: he is studying a tablet showing the plan of his own project, for the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.
The idea of depicting him in bas-relief, in profile, intent on his work, is taken from the funerary monument to Giotto by Benedetto da Maiano (1490).
His facial features were probably taken from the Arnolfo portrayed in Vasari's Lives of The Artists (published 1568), in turn based on the figure painted by Giotto beside the Death of Saint Francis (Basilica of Santa Croce), which, in the tradition reported by Vasari himself, is a portrait of the architect. Arnolfo's face had also been similarly imagined by Luigi Pampaloni, in 1830, in his monument at the Palazzo dei Canonici.