L’angelo che non volò. Una scultura non realizzata per il nuovo arredo presbiteriale del Duomo di Pisa al tempo dell’arcivescovo Filippo de’ Medici
In the 1460s artistic activity in Pisa experienced a period of recovery thanks to the Florentine archbishop Filippo de’ Medici and to the Operaio del Duomo Antonio di Jacopo delle Mura. While local artists preferred to work in Florence or Rome, “foreign” sculptors and stoneworkers came to town, like the Florentine Andrea di Francesco Guardi, whose collaborative workshop decorated urban and rural churches, and above all realized the interior furniture of the Cathedral: Andrea created a new temple shaped ciborium while Domenico di Giovanni da Milano and Domenico Rosselli sculpted a figurated capital, today lost, for a porphyry column, which was in turn to serve as base of a metal statue of a candlebearer Angel. The execution of the latter was entrusted to the brother of Agostino di Duccio, Ottaviano, who was also active in Rimini and Urbino and then a collaborator of Antonio del Pollaiolo. Ottaviano presented in Pisa a wax model, eventually representing a moving figure with fluttering vestments and twisting arms (so as to hold the candle), which probably looked similar to the couple of tablet-bearer angels that he sculpted in relief in 1467 for bishop Antonio Malatesta’s monument in the cathedral of Cesena. However, Ottaviano’s project wasn’t approved, or possibly it ultimately was too expensive; therefore, the porphyry column waited for more than a century until its candle-bearer angel finally was cast in bronze in 1583 by Stoldo Lorenzi.