L.37 Model for a Tomb

October-December, 1531


According to a record of payment for expenses of the last quarter of 1531, Rosso made in this period “ung model d’une sépulture…. par mandement verbal du Roy” (DOC.16).

Maurice Roy has tried to prove that this model was for the tomb of Alberto Pio di Carpi, dated 1535, the bronze effigy of which survives in the Louvre (see RS).  But that statue cannot be attributed to Rosso, nor can it be shown that he ever made a design for the tomb of Alberto Pio.  Roy thought the document mentioning the verbal commission of the model had to be dated between 24 September and 26 November 1531, and hence too soon after Louise de Savoie’s death, on 22 or 24 September, to refer to her tomb.  But the document seems to cover the entire period of the last three months of 1531.  In any case, the possibility cannot altogether be eliminated that the project indicated here was for the tomb of Francis I’s mother, who, however, was eventually buried in the family monument in Saint-Denis erected by Henri II (Carroll, 1987, 31, 35, n. 99).  What, in fact, could be more appropriate at this time than for Francis I to turn to his newly arrived Italian artist to design a tomb for his beloved mother.  The model could have been a small three-dimensional construction, but it could also have been a drawing.  For a drawing of another tomb by Rosso, see D.81.