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Tombstone - Tombstone of a lector at Bologna University

Tombstone of a lector at Bologna University

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Bologna (made)

  • Date:

    1425-1450 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Istrian stone

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 50a, The Paul and Jill Ruddock Gallery, case FS

At the time of acquisition, this tombstone carving of Istrian Stone was said to have come "from a church in the neighbourhood of Bologna". It is related to a number of tomb-slabs in the Museo Civico at Bologna, which were formerly in the church of San Francesco. The identity of the figure has not been established. The condition of the slab suggests that it was set against a wall and not laid on the floor. It is made in Bolgona in the second quarter of the 15th century.

Physical description

Tombstone carved with a supine figure with eyes closed and forearms crossed, the hands resting on the thighs.

Place of Origin

Bologna (made)


1425-1450 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Istrian stone


Height: 202.9 cm, Width: 99.4 cm, Depth: 6 cm, Weight: 264 kg

Object history note

At the time of acquisition, this carving was said to have come "from a church in the neighbourhood of Bologna". It is similar to other tombstones of academics from Bologna University, which were previously in the church of San Francesco and are now in the Museo Civile there.

Historical context note

This tombstone was probably made for a lector of Bologna university. The books shown by his elbows and feet are symbols of his learned status. The erased coats of arms and lack of inscriptions means that there are few clues to the exact identity of the figure. Tombstones like this were often placed on the floor of the church, although the good condition of this relief may suggest that this slab was in fact set into a wall.

Descriptive line

Tombstone, Istrian stone, of a lector at Bologna University, Italy (Bologna), 1425-1450

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

List of Objects in the Art Division, South Kensington Museum acquired during the Year 1882. London, 1883, p. 7
MacLagan, E, and Longhurst, Margaret, H. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture. London: V&A, 1932, p. 109
Pope-Hennessy, John. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 1964, p. 252
Ducati. Guida del Museo Civile di Bologna. 1923, p. 219
Venturi, A. Storia dell'arte Italiana. IV, Milan, p. 833, fig. 693
Ricci. Monumenti sepolcrali di lettori dello studio Bolognese nei secoli XIII, XIV e XV. Bologna: 1888


Istrian stone

Subjects depicted

Death; Books; Scholars; Universities; Tombs


Sculpture; Architectural fittings; Death


Sculpture Collection

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