Benedetto da Maiano
(1442 - May 27, 1497) was an Italian
sculptor of the early Renaissance.
Born in the village
of Maiano, near Fiesole, he started his career as companion of his
brother, the architect Giuliano da Maiano. When he reached the age
of thirty he started training under the sculptor Antonio Rossellino.
There he learned to work with marble and eventually became more
famous than Rossellino and one of the most important sculptors of
the 15th century. During his early life he specialised in
wood-mosaic. King Corvinus of Hungary invited him to his court, and
it is said that the destruction on the journey of some inlay work he
was taking to his royal patron made him decide to seek more durable
Pulpit of Santa
Croce in FlorenceHis early works include a shrine dedicated to San
Savino for the cathedral of Faenza. Although he specialized in
religious sculpture he also carved some portraits of important
Florentines; for instance, in 1474, the bust of Pietro Mellini in
In 1475, he worked
with his brother Giuliano on the Collegiata church in San Gimignano.
Benedetto's most important contribution was the carved altar in the
chapel of Santa Fina.
In 1480, he made
the framework of the doorway of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. The
marble pulpit in the Santa Croce in Florence is considered his
masterpiece. On the pulpit are scenes from the life of St. Francis
of Assisi. Also in 1480, with his brother Giuliano, he built and
made the sculptures for the little oratory of the Madonna
dell'Olivo, outside Prato. The adolescent St. John of the Bargello
is ascribed to the year 1481.
In 1489 Benedetto
designed the Strozzi Palace in Florence which still stands
(continued by Cronaca). It is believed he went to Naples in 1490,
and there finished the works begun by Rossellino in the Sant'Anna
church. He also executed various sculptures in Naples, among them an
Annunciation at the church of Monte Oliveto. As an architect, he
created the tomb of Filippo Strozzi, with its lovely roundel of
Mother and Child supported by cherubs in the church of Santa Maria
Novella, Florence; and the portico of Santa Maria delle Grazie in
Arezzo. He died in Florence at the age of 55.