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

Pietro Mellini

1474
Marble, height 53 cm
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence

Benedetto da Maiano developed into an effective portraitist in the Rossellino shop. This dated bust preserves the wizened features of Mellini, a wealthy merchant, who also commissioned a pulpit with scenes of St Francis for Santa Croce. Benedetto created a prose-like approach to the minutiae of appearence, paralleled in paint by Ghirlandaio. Here Benedetto displays an unsparing verism, portraying every wrinkle in the roadmap of Mellini's face. The slightly pursed, sceptical lips betray the bemusement of a basically genial but careful man.