Caryatid group of a deacon and two acolytes

Italian (Bologna)
Medieval (Gothic)
Attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio (Italian)


102.9 x 29.2 x 21.0 cm (40 1/2 x 11 1/2 x 8 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Stone; marble

On View

Museum Council Gallery (Gallery 254)





These three clerics hold objects used during celebration of the Mass. A deacon-distinguished by his stole and the maniple (a strip of silk worn at Mass) that drapes from his wrist-carries the pillow that supports the missal containing the text of the Mass. The acolytes hold a pitcher for the water or wine and the pyx, a container for the Eucharist. The group was a supporting element for the tomb of Saint Dominic in the church of the same name in Bologna. Arnolfo di Cambio created this sculpture in the shop of his master, Giovanni Pisano; he later became a master sculptor and architect, providing the initial designs for the cathedral in Florence and sculptures for its facade. (MCambareri, 2W02, 2004).


About 1265/1268, Arca di San Domenico, Bologna (original commission). Publio Podio, Bologna [see note 1]. 1929, Enrico Testa, Florence; August 16, 1929, sold by Testa to the Brummer Gallery, New York (stock no. P6466); 1947, sold by Brummer to the MFA for $45,000. (Accession Date: June 12, 1947)

[1] Cesare Gnudi, "Nicola, Arnolfo, [e] Lapo" (Florence, 1948), p. 101.

Credit Line

Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection