Ilaria del Carretto died on this day in 1405. The second wife of Paolo Guinigi, Lord of Lucca, she died at the age of 26 giving birth to their daughter. Guinigi honored his wife with a magnificent marble tomb carved by Sienese sculptor Jacopo della Quercia. Dismantled after Guinigi’s fall from power in 1430, the tomb once had a canopy as well as the sarcophagus and effigy that still survive. Chubby winged children known as putti or spiritelli adorn the casket. They hold thick garlands in emulation of ancient funerary monuments and are the first known usage in the Renaissance. Ilaria rests peacefully on her funeral bed with her faithful dog at her feet. Her tomb, in Lucca’s cathedral, is one of the most beloved monuments of the early Italian Renaissance.
Reference: Elinor M. Richter. “Jacopo della Quercia.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. <http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T043135>.