Around the mid-sixteenth century Humanist prelates were conflicted in their efforts to combine the conventions of their cultural heritage and the new religious requirements.
In the field of personal commemoration, the humanist praise of humankind—which led to magnificent Renaissance monuments—stood in contrast to the renewed emphasis on personal humbleness. This perplexing situation is reflected in the personality and sepulchral patronage of Diomede Carafa, bishop of Ariano for half of that century, who prepared four tombs for himself. An examination of their iconography, their epitaphs, and some other projects and inscriptions by him produces a picture of a prelate who oscillated between his desire to be remembered, his agreement with the renewed Catholic emphasis on personal humbleness, and his fear of death. While the simplicity of his tomb slabs manifests the patron’s meekness, their dead effigies and epitaphs were for him a permanent memento mori reference.