Ark of Saint Dominic, Basilica of San Domenico

Nicola Pisano, Niccolo dell’Arca, Michelangelo and others
13th-16th century

The chapel with the Monument to San Domenico

The Arca di San Domenico or the Ark of Saint Dominic is a large sculptural monument including the sarcophagus for the remains of Saint Dominic.

The first artist commissioned in the mid 13th century for the design of this monument was Nicola Pisano. (See his pulpits at Pisa and Siena.) Later a crowning construction was added on the top of the sarcophagus by Niccolò dell' Arca and even later the young Michelangelo created three figures for this monument.

Two angels bearing candlesticks at the base of the sarcophagus

The angel on the left is by Niccolò dell' Arca (1470-73) while the one on the right is by Michelangelo (1495). The delicate bi-sexual angel of Niccolò is the type we have come to expect while Michelangelo's bears the earmarks of his later athletic figures. Even his candlestick is heavier, more substantial.
San Procolo by Michelangelo (1494)

Relief panels on the sarcophagus picturing the life of St. Dominic--by Nicola Pisano and his workshop, 1260s

In each corner are statues of the four Doctors of the Church while the Virgin and Child occupy the front center. The relief on the left represents one of the miracles of St. Dominic when he resurrected a young man after he fell from his horse; the panel on the left depicts the saint's preaching.

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© 2006 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.