MAIANO, Benedetto da
(b. 1442, Firenze, d. 1497, Firenze)


Italian sculptor and architect in Florence, part of a family of artists. The brothers Giuliano da Maiano, Giovanni da Maiano I (1439-1478) and Benedetto da Maiano ran one of the most versatile and productive workshops in Florence in the later 15th century. They were sons of the mason Leonardo d'Antonio da Maiano and were brought up in the quarry village of Maiano, outside Florence. Giuliano was the administrative head of the workshop, which produced secular and ecclesiastical furniture and executed sculpture in a wide variety of media, as well as designing and building numerous architectural projects. They worked throughout Tuscany and also in Naples. Giovanni I is mentioned in payments (1473–77) for work at Santissima Annunziata, Florence, but nothing is known of his specific contribution to the family's enterprises. Giovanni da Maiano II (c. 1486-c. 1542) was the son of Benedetto da Maiano and was one of the first generation of Italian sculptors to introduce the Renaissance style to the English court at the time of Henry VIII.

Benedetto carried over into the second half of the 15th century many of the motifs and stylistic features characteristic of the first half. His marble tomb designs are variants on patterns established by his master, Antonio Rossellino; his pictorial relief style, which found its most eloquent expression in a pulpit executed between 1472 and 1475 in Santa Croce, Florence, belongs to the narrative tradition associated with Ghiberti and Donatello. Perhaps his most memorable achievement lay not in his figures or reliefs but in the decorative settings in which they were placed.

Benedetto's other works include two outstanding portrait busts of Pietro Mellini (Bargello, Florence) and Filippo Strozzi (Louvre, Paris).

The Palazzo Strozzi, which in its gigantic scale and massive bulk dwarfs any other residence in Florence, represents the culmination of the Florentine palace type. The design is attributed to Benedetto da Maiano, but the extant wooden model was made by Giuliano da Sangallo, and the colossal cornice and the courtyard were added by Il Cronaca, who succeeded Benedetto as architect.