One of the earliest
Italian Renaissance sculptors, best remembered for his fountain for the
public square of Siena, the Fonte Gaia (1419; now in Palazzo Pubblico,
Siena), which has been replaced by a copy.
Born in La Quercia
(now Madonna della Quercia), his earliest known sculpture, the tomb (1406)
of Ilaria del Carretto in Lucca Cathedral, is entirely renaissance in
conception and execution. It is in the form of a Roman sarcophagus, with
winged cherubs bearing heavy garlands carved in extremely high relief
around the sides. The serene effigy of Ilaria lies on the lid, swathed
in superbly carved folds of drapery, her face radiant with peace.
A bronze relief,
Zacharias in the Temple, for the font of the baptistery of Siena Cathedral
was completed in 1430. His 15 biblical marble relief panels (begun 1425)
in the portal of the Church of San Petronio, Bologna, were left incomplete
at his death, but the Genesis scenes he sculpted for the portal are among
his most striking creations, in the bold simplicity of their compositions,
the sure handling of anatomy, and their effect of monumentality. These
panels, and Jacopo's other works, were a direct inspiration to Michelangelo
and other masters of the High Renaissance.