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

Altarpiece of the Annunciation

before 1489
Correale Chapel, Sant'Anna dei Lombardi, Naples

A major commission of the 1480s was the Annunciation Altar and marble furnishings for the Correale Chapel of the church of Monteoliveto Maggiore (now Sant'Anna dei Lombardi), Naples. It was begun before 16 September 1489, when Joanna, Queen of Naples, requested duty-free passage of the carved marbles from Florence via Pisa to Naples; payments continued until 23 April 1491. The form of the altar, with a relief of the Annunciation flanked by niches containing statues of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist, is based on Antonio Rossellino's Piccolomini Altar in the same church. The detail and finishing are only slightly less meticulous than the Santa Croce pulpit, the saints are more substantial than Benedetto's earlier free-standing figures, and the central relief, with high-relief figures of the Virgin and Angel and a barrel-vaulted loggia leading to a garden, openly challenges painting's supremacy in the depiction of deep illusionistic space.