Lucca Cathedral and tomb of Ilaria del Carretto
The Cathedral of San Martino in Lucca
The Cathedral of San Martino, also known simply as Lucca Cathedral, is an imposing Romanesque-Gothic church in the historic center of the Tuscan city of Lucca, central Italy.
The church was originally built in the mid-11 century in Romanesque style, and subsequently enlarged and partially rebuild in a hybrid Romanesque-Gothic style between the 13th century and the 17th century. The ornated marble facade was created by sculptor and architect Guidetto da Como in 1204.
The cathedral is renowned for the many artworks it contains, including paintings by Domenico Ghirlandaio, Tintoretto, and Fra Bartolomeo, sculptural works by Matteo Civitati, and the famous tomb of Ilaria del Carretto by Jacopo Della Quercia.
Cover image, detail of the Renaissance-style marble sarcophagus of Ilaria del Caretto by Jacopo Della Quercia on view in the Lucca Cathedral. Photo © Inexhibit
The Medieval facade and 60-meter /197-foot high bell tower of the Lucca Cathedral, view from Piazza San Martino. Photo © Inexhibit.
Exterior views of the Cathedral of San Martino, Lucca. Photos © Inexhibit
The Gothic-style central nave of the cathedral.
The shrine chapel, sculpted in 1484 by Matteo Civitali, containing the Holy Face of Lucca (Italian: Volto Santo di Lucca), a legendary wooden crucifix dating back to the early-9th century. Photo © Inexhibit
The funerary monument of Ilaria del Carretto
The funerary monument of Ilaria del Carretto is a marble sarcophagus made by famous sculptor Jacopo Della Quercia between 1406 and 1408. Located in the sacristy of the Cathedral of San Martino in Lucca, the work was commissioned to the artist by Paolo Guinigi (lord of Lucca until 1430) for his young wife Ilaria del Carretto.
The sculpture stands out in art history for both the artist’s unconventional approach to the subject and its modernity. Ilaria is depicted life-size, lying back in a reclined position with a peaceful face encircled by typical Renaissance-style hairdressing and a stiff collar that contrasts with her softly draped clothing. Yet, the most surprising figure is a dog lying at the woman’s feet and peeping through her drapery. It’s apparently an element of secondary importance; however, along with a symbol of fidelity, that little dog casts a light on the private life of Ilaria, and is possibly also an allusion to her young age, since Ilaria died at just 25.
Above, the funerary monument of Ilaria del Caretto sculpted by Jacopo Della Quercia in the early 15th century and located in the sacristy of the Lucca Cathedral. Photos © Inexhibit
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