THE DUOMO DI SAN MARTINO III
Civitali created also for the Duomo of Lucca:
- The outstanding sepulchres of Count Pietro Noceti (1397-1467), private secretary to Pope Nicola V, which is located in the right transept, and the one of the Palatine Count Domenico Bertini (1417 -1506), diplomatic and magistrate of the by then Republic of Lucca, which was commissioned by him from Civitali several years before his death. Bertini’s tomb is situated opposite to the Noceti’s one.
- The magnificent Altar of St. Regulus, situated to the right of the apse.
- The gorgeous small octagonal temple, located in the central nave, preserving the impressive and beloved relic by the city of Lucca: the “Volto Santo” (Holy Face), a cedar-wood crucifix and icon of Jesus Christ, which in line with the legend was carved by Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin, who as said by the Gospel of St. John (19:39-42) followed Jesus until the Calvary Mount and, later, helped St. Joseph of Arimathea to prepare the Holy Body for the Entombment. By chance, the wooden Crucifix was transported to Lucca in the year 782.
The current “Volto Santo”, which is believed the greatest treasure hosted in St. Martin’s Cathedral, is considered a replica from the 11th or the 12th century of the original one.
Every 13th September the relic is carried in procession through the streets of Lucca. Because of the “Volto Santo” the St. Martin’s Cathedral has been along the century’s one of the main centres of pilgrimage in Tuscany and also in Italy.
- The precious inlaid multi-coloured marble floor with a complicated geometrical design was made in the Lucchese studio of Matteo Civitali.
The ten altars placed along the sides of the aisles were erected by the Florentine sculptor Jacopo di Zanobi Piccardi, between 1589 and 1591.
The pictures standing over those altars were mostly created in the 16th century. Among them make stand out “The Adorazione dei Magi” by the celebrated mannerist painter Federico Zuccari (1542-1609) and the one representing “The Last Supper” painted by the great Tintoretto, between 1590 and 1591, which is located over the third altar of the south aisle.
The Sacristy houses a wonderful “Pietà” attributed to the eminent Italian Renaissance painter from the Florentine School Bartolomeo di Giovanni (active from 1475 to 1510 ca.), as well as the splendid altar painting “Madonna e Santi” by the brilliant Florentine Renaissance painter Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-1494).
To the left of the small temple which hosts the “Volto Santo” there is the beautiful statue of St. John the Evangelist, an early work by the celebrated Senese sculptor Jacopo Della Quercia (1374 ca. - 1438 ca.) as well as his impressive “Man of Sorrows” at the Altar of the Sacrament, and a relief carved by him in the sepulchre of S. Aniello.
In 1406 Della Quercia was commissioned by Paolo Guinigi, the by then main ruler of Lucca, to construct a funerary white marble monument for his second wife, the noblewoman Ilaria Del Carretto (1379- 1405), daughter of Carlo I del Carretto di Finale.
Paolo Guinigi married Ilaria del Carretto on the 3rd February 1403, in the Church of San Romano in Lucca. Their first son, Ladislao, was born the 24th September 1404, but on the 8th December 1405 she died because of the birth of their second daughter, named Ilaria Minor to be differentiated from her mother.
The funerary monument of Ilaria del Carretto, hosted in the Sacristy, is considered a Jacopo della Quercia’s masterpiece which turns the brilliant Senese sculptor into a forerunner of the Renaissance. It represents the noblewoman richly dressed, in Gothic style, lying over the sarcophagus with her dog at her feet. On the flanks of the sarcophagus there are numerous nude small angels delicately engraved.
The Duomo di San Martino is daily opened. It opens from 9:30am to 6:45pm from April to September and from 9:30am to 4:45pm from October to March.
The admission is free, but the entrance ticket to visit to the Sacristy and the nearby Museo della Cattedrale is 6 euros.
The Museo della Cattedrale is an excellent art gallery, which hosts an important religious collection of illuminated manuscripts, paintings, sacred objects and sculptures, mostly coming from the 15th and 16th centuries and once housed in the Cathedral.
Other Pages about Lucca
Hystory and Origins
Must-See Monuments and Art in Lucca
- Il Duomo di San Martino - Palazzo dei Guinigi - Chiesa di San Michele in Foro - The native house of Giacomo Puccini
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