Funerary monument (sepulchre) of Giacomo Bongiovanni

Alcalá, Luisa Elena

The tomb of Giacomo Bongiovanni is one of the few early sixteenth-century monuments preserved in the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in Bari. Most of the church walls are bare, owing to various conservation campaigns, most dramatically those between 1925 and 1934, when a desire to recover medieval “authenticity” stripped the church of centuries of history and art. Earlier sources reveal that in the sixteenth century, this church, like others in the city such as the cathedral, had side chapels, many with tombs of prominent local inhabitants. Sculptures and paintings ornamented them, a few of which are preserved in museums, for example the Virgin and Child with Saint Enrico of Upsala and Saint Anthony of Padua by Paris Bordone, originally in the cathedral chapel that belonged to the Tanzi family. Decontextualized and removed from their original architectural frame, such works are no longer entirely understandable, especially because they have lost the complementary artistic elements that collectively articulated funerary monuments. By contrast, the tomb of Bongiovanni offers a window onto the way in which the arts came together to commemorate the deceased at the height of the Renaissance in Puglia. Here, we have painting, sculpture, architecture, a coat of arms, and a commemorative epigraph in Latin.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Latin American and Iberian Cultures
Spanish Italy & the Iberian Americas
Published Here
October 12, 2022


Preferred Citation: Alcalá, Luisa Elena. “Funerary Monument (Sepulchre) of Giacomo Bongiovanni.” In Michael Cole and Alessandra Russo, eds. Spanish Italy & the Iberian Americas. New York, NY: Columbia University, 2020. []