BENINTENDI, Orsino
(b. ca. 1440, Firenze, d. ca. 1498, Firenze)

Cast of the Dead Mask of Lorenzo de' Medici

1492
Gypsum-based stucco mounted on poplar panel, 22 x 16 x 8 cm (mask), 58 x 44 x 5 cm (panel)
Museo degli Argenti, Florence

Making dead masks was a common practice in fifteenth-century Florence. These masks were placed over chimney-pieces, doors or windows. Lorenzo de' Medici ("Il Magnifico") died during the late night of 8 April, 1492 at the age of forty-three in his villa in Careggi, near Florence. Immediately afterward, a cast was made of the deceased's face from which this plaster cast was in turn made, preserving the authentic features of Lorenzo, from the wide and deformed bridge of his nose to his protruding lower lip and strong chin.