Vincenzo de' Rossi, Saint Matthew
- Vincenzo de' Rossi
- 01 Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
- Specific location
- Interior, central nave, fourth bay, right pillar, aedicule
- White marble
In this marble sculpture by Vincenzo de' Rossi, made between 1573-1580. Saint Matthew is seen larger than life, with a long beard and dressed in a tunic, intent on writing his gospel. The angel assisting him, holding the book and offering the inkwell for the saint’s pen, alludes to the angel as symbol of Matthew in the Evangelical Tetramorph.
The statue is part of a series depicting the Apostles, begun for the Florentine cathedral in the 16th century but never completed. The first was Saint Matthew, by Michelangelo, left unfinished and now in the Galleria dell'Accademia. Others were by Jacopo Sansovino, Baccio Bandinelli, Andrea Ferrucci, Benedetto da Rovezzano and Giovanni Bandini. As well as Matthew, Vincenzo de' Rossi completed a second sculpture in the series, of Saint Thomas. The niches that welcome the portrait works, designed by Ammannati, were prepared in 1573.
The cycle was part of the Cathedral renovations promoted in the 1500s, first by the republican government and then by the grand duke. The series of apostles represents the conception of the Apostolic Church, meaning founded on Christ's mandate to his disciples (Matthew 28, 16-20). Their integration within the church structures, its pillars and walls, alludes to the Church as a spiritual building, with the Holy Apostles as its first members and "living stones" (First Letter of St. Peter, 4-5).