The rampant dog on a shield still visible on the left side of this sarcophagus is the coat of arms of the Cagnoli family. Jacopo, an eminent member of the Cagnoli House and doctor in Modena, died in 1345 after a long career teaching at the University of Bologna. The richly carved relief on the front of this sarcophagus shows him at the centre, flanked by collaborators and assistants as he gives a university lesson from his desk. The solemn, abstract arrangement of the figures is counterbalanced by the minute detailing of their clothing and headwear as well as the pronounced shadows created by their protrusion from the deeply carved background. The two Carmelite monks that bookend the slab indicate the sarcophagus’ original location on an external wall of the Chiesa di San Biagio nel Carmine in Modena that had benefited from Jacopo’s legacy. In 1508 the Carmelites sold the work to the Forni family who installed the sarcophagus in the Duomo where it stayed until its donation to the Lapidario Estense by Count Paolo Forni in 1828.
marmo (Carrara) e rosso di Verona, cm. 230 x 240 x 79 inv. 7225