Entombment and Assumption of the Virgin
Masseo Civitali and Michelangelo di Piero
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This painted wood altarpiece of the entombment and assumption of the Virgin Mary is in the basilica of San Frediano in Lucca. (It was moved to its current location within the church and given a new frame in 1856.) The sculpting was attributed to Masseo Civitali, nephew of the more famous Matteo Civitali) already in a chronicle of 1560. The polychromy has been attributed on the basis of style to Michelangelo di Pietro. The figures are carved with varying degrees of relief (St. Thomas, who receives the Virgin's girdle, painted on the flat panel) and splendidly painted and gilded, with an abundance of red lake along with other pigments. Similar painted wood sculptures of the entombment and assumption of the Virgin were made about 30 years earlier by Vecchietta and Neroccio for San Frediano (now in the Museo di Villa Guinigi in Lucca). This, of course, complicates the reading of documents about these works. Masseo may have been asked to imitate this earlier model as the poses of the central figures and composition are closely copied, but simplified to make them less agitated and dramatic. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.