The Smile of Cangrande

Cangrande and his equestrian statue in Castelvecchio

Equestrian statue of Cangrande I della ScalaMuseo di Castelvecchio

The Scaligers were a powerful dynasty that ruled over the city of Verona and most of the Veneto for 125 years, continuously from 1262 to 1387.

Under this family, Verona passed from Commune to Signoria, whose maximum expansion and wealth took place during the regency of Cangrande I, a period of great artistic flourishing and commissioning in the field of painting, sculpture and sumptuous art.

Cangrande I della Scala was an illuminated and respected ruler who led the city through a period of great expansion, becoming lord of Verona, Vicenza, Padua, Treviso, Belluno, Feltre, Monselice, Bassano, as well as imperial vicar of Mantua and Italian Ghibelline chief.

However, he unexpectedly died at the age of 38, leaving the Signoria without direct descendants.

Equestrian statue of Cangrande I della ScalaMuseo di Castelvecchio

The equestrian statue of Cangrande I was commissioned by his successor Mastino II for the top of the tomb of the lord, above the side portal of the church of Santa Maria Antica, whose courtyard became the mausoleum of the dynasty.

The statue was removed in 1909 from its original location due to preservative issues and is now in the Castelvecchio Museum.

The magnetic charm of his smile is one of the elements that most characterizes the work, one of the masterpieces of Italian Gothic sculpture.

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