The work is the remainder of a cenotaph, commissioned to Bambaia in 1545 by Alvise and Giovanni Paolo Toscani, nephews of Lorenzo, who had been bishop of Lodève (France). It comes from the church of Santa Maria della Scala and probably it is the last work by the great Lombard sculptor. The deceased is represented in a reclining position; with his right arm he supports his head dressed with the miter, and with his other arm resting on his body he presents an opened book onto which it is written: “IN TE DOMINE SPERAVI” (In you, O Lord, I hoped).
The body of the deceased is lying on a couch, and in the lower part the folds of his cloak become thicker. Bambaia’s composition choice is influenced by Renaissance models that have a humanistic connotation. These recall a Tuscan matrix, which is also common in northern Italy.
The posture of the sleeping prelate is clearly different from the classical archetypes, linked to the concept of necropolis – or the city of the dead. Instead, it refers to the Greek origin of the word “cemetery”, which means, “resting place”, in the Christian wait for the resurrection.