Agostino di Duccio, Saint Sigismund travelling toward Agauno

Agostino di Duccio, Saint Sigismund travelling toward Agauno, marble, 1449-1452 (inv. n. 1089)

Acquired in 1811 on recommendation of the Commission of the Brera Academy, comprising artists and academics, the work was originally set in the altar of Saint Sigismund in Rimini's Malatestiano temple, from whence is it was removed in 1581. The extraordinary quality of the bas-relief is testimony to the maturity reached by the artist Agostino di Duccio, when the Tuscan formation between Donatello and Ghiberti developed into a personal form, dominated by a harmonious and elegant linearism.  Sculpted as a bas-relief, the tablet is dedicated to San Sigismondo, the Christian king of Burgundy, who is portrayed during the pilgrimage undertaken with his second wife to atone for the killing of his son. Agostino di Duccio depicts the crucial moment when an angel appears at the royal court pointing to the place in which the monastery of Agauno (now Saint Maurice en Valais) was to be founded. The attitude of the angelic figure and the floating garments recalls the figurative characters of an ancient maenad, a tangibile sign of the Tuscan artist's declared adhesion to classical models.