Equestrian monument to Paolo Savelli

The equestrian monument was erected by the Serenissima for Paolo Savelli, General of the Venetian troops, who died of the plague in 1405 during the siege of Padua. This Roman noble was given a solemn State funeral and was buried in the Frari Basilica. This was also due to the fact that he had consistently contributed to the construction of the webs of the transept. The equestrian monument is composed of a marble urn on which stands the General on horseback. The architectural structure dates to around the mid 14th century (probably the work of Rinaldino of France due to the strong resemblance between the Madonna of this urn and that of the Madonna Mora at the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua) whereas the more classical decoration of the sarcophagus, in the cornice, in the corbels with the coat of arms held by two lion heads, but above all in the sculptures, can be traced to Tuscan school around the end of the 14th and beginning of the 15th century i.e. the transition between Gothic and Renaissance style. Above, on a imposing golden wood horse, there strides the wooden statue of Savelli whose face is full of life. He is wearing luxurious clothes (the same sort that were found in the sarcophagus). The sculpture was presumed to be of the hand of the Sienese, Jacopo Della Quercia (1367-1438), but is more likely to be the work of a Tuscan sculptor active in Venice during the first quarter of the 15th century.

Monument dedicated to Benedetto Pesaro

The second monument is dedicated to Benedetto Pesaro and adorns the door to the sacristy. He was the Captain of the Venetian fleets and died in 1503 in Corfu. In his will he requested to be buried in the Frari Basilica. His wish was fulfilled and Lorenzo and Giambattista Bregno (16th century) erected this monument upon the commission of Gerolamo Pesaro. Four charming composite columns support the Renaissance monument. Between the columns there are two medal-shaped bas-reliefs depicting the Lion of Venice. On the extension of the two external columns there are the statues of Neptune and Mars which have always been attributed to Baccio from Montelupo, but, according to John Turner, they do not have the hallmark of this artist. Above the central columns there is the urn and the statue of the Captain, armed ready for battle with standard in hand. On the front of the urn are the fortresses of Leucade and Cefalonia, conquered by Pesaro, amid two sailing galleys. In the tympanum, there is the Virgin with the Child, the only religious motif.

Monument dedicated to Blessed Pacifico

The monument is the only important work of art in Venice which is entirely in golden and painted terracotta (1437). It was meant to be the funeral monument for Scipione Bon who had it built during his lifetime. Indeed, in the lower part, crowning the epigraph, are the three insignia of the Bon family. He was benefactor and procurator of the church and donated his sepulchre to the friars for the burial of Blessed Pacifico. Two corbels support a large Florid Gothic arch, embellished with numerous angels and musicians. Above is the painting of the Annunciation, attributed to Giovanni of France or to Zanino di Pietro, whereas at either side are the figures of St. Francis receiving the stigmata and St. Anthony of Padua and St. Ludovico of Anjou Bishop of Toulouse. In the intrados of the arch, there are seventy little lions, symbols of the Serenissima among the stars. Capping the monument is the statue of the Virgin. Whereas on the urn are the figures of the three theological Virtues and in the middle the descent of Christ into Limbo and the Resurrection. To the side are Justice and Temperance. In the lunette is the Baptism of Christ.

Monument dedicated to Jacopo Marcello

Jacopo Marcello was the commander of the Venetian fleet, killed on March 31, 1488, while leading the troops in the conquering of Gallipoli. A marble oval surrounds the monument and renders it pleasing to the eye. In the centre, in Istrian stone on a ‘pavonazzetto’ background, stands an extremely elaborate foliaged urn supported by three small deformed hunchbacks standing on Lombardesque corbels. Between the corbels there are two eagles framed by foliaged swags. Above the urn stands the Fleet Commander, Jacopo Marcello, with a lance in his right hand and his left hand on his hip. He is wearing plated armour and stands between two pages who are holding Marcello’s shield which can also be seen between the three hunchbacks. The monument was attributed to Pietro Lombardo but recent studies claim it was the work of Giovanni Buora (1450-1513). Up above, the background to the monument is frescoed in Mantegnesque style. The fresco portrays the Triumph of the Hero (15th century). On high there is a banner with the name of Jesus in the middle and the coat of arms of Marcello on either side. On the left are the trophies and coats of arms. This gives a magnificent effect to the wall in that the hero is celebrated rather than mourned. Along the entire wall and beneath the monuments is an elegant wainscoting dating to the 16th century divided into 18 parts by small Doric columns with foliaged frieze and triglyphs.