Andrea del Castagno, Equestrian monument of Niccolò da Tolentino
- Andrea del Castagno
- Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
- Specific location
- Interior, left aisle, second bay, wall, right
- Fresco painting (transferred to canvas)
- Height: 833 cm; Width: 522 cm;
- Plaster, pigments, canvas
This gigantic fresco depicts the equestrian monument to the mercenary captain of war Niccolò Mauruzi, known as "from Tolentino" (Tolentino, around 1350 - Borgo Val di Taro, March 20, 1435) and was painted by Andrea del Castagno in 1456 as a pendant to the adjacent painted monument by Paolo Uccello to the Captain John Hawkwood.
Mauruzi had been hired by the Republic of Florence to lead the army and had led it to victory against the Sienese in the famous battle of San Romano in 1432. The commander had then died in 1435 and his body had been transported and buried with great honors in the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Twenty years later this public monument was paid to him. In these years, the area of the naves of the Cathedral thus acquired the meaning of a civil space where the pantheon of those who had defended and given glory to the homeland found a place.
Andrea del Castagno resumed the invention and the dimensions of the adjacent monument by Paolo Uccello, making some variations.
The painting imitates a partially painted and gilded marble monument placed on the wall. A sarcophagus with a tiled lid bears a plaque with an epigraph, is surrounded by statuettes holding the coat of arms and rests on a base supported by shelves and a shell valve. Above it there is the equestrian portrait of the captain of war, foreshortened from below: the horse advances in a triumphal march and the captain who mounts it, in armor but with a large hat instead of a cap, keeps the baton clearly visible . The crimson and gold of the polychrome parts and the rich trappings of the horse recall the gifts and the feast with which the Republic had celebrated him on June 24th, 1433. The grotesque frame is a later addition by Lorenzo di Credi (1524). In 1842 the painting was detached from the wall and transferred on canvas. It has been restored three times: in 1954, in 2000 and in 2022.