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Tomb of Ugo, count of Tuscany, Badia, Florence.

Mino da Fiesole (also known as Mino di Giovanni; c. 1429 – July 11, 1484) was an Italian sculptor from Poppi, Tuscany. He is noted for his portrait busts. His work was influenced by his master Desiderio da Settignano and by Antonio Rossellino, and is characterized by its sharp, angular treatment of drapery. Unlike most Florentine sculptors of his generation, Mino passed two lengthy sojourns in Rome, from about 1459 to 1464 and again from about 1473/1474 until 1480.

Mino was a friend and fellow-worker of Desiderio da Settignano and Matteo Civitali, all three being about the same age. Mino's sculpture is remarkable for its finish and delicacy of details, as well as for its spirituality and strong devotional feeling.

Of Mino's earlier works, the finest are in the cathedral of Fiesole, the altarpiece and tomb of Bishop Leonardo Salutati (died 1466)

His most arduous and complicated commissions, which define his intellectual and artistic nature, are an altarpiece and tombs for the church of the Benedictine monastery in Florence known as the Badia. (The monuments have been reinstalled in the rebuilt church.) The first, completed about 1468, was essentially a private commission for the Florentine jurist Bernardo Giugni. The second, directly commissioned by the monks and finished in 1481, honored the memory of their founder, the tenth century Ugo, count of Tuscany. The wall monuments exercised Mino's skills: portraits and bas-reliefs are worked into complex tectonic aedicular structures with elaborate highly individualistic decorative moldings. Art historians have revelled in the extraordinary diversity of contemporary and ancient sources that Mino marshaled in these tombs, which distinguish him from other sculptors active in mid quattrocento Florence (Zuraw 1998).

The pulpit in Prato Cathedral, in which he collaborated with Antonio Rossellino, finished in 1473, is very delicately sculpted with bas-reliefs of great minuteness, but somewhat weakly designed.

Virgin Annunciate, marble of c. 1455/1460, in the National Gallery of Art

In 1473 he went to Rome where he remained apparently about six years. It is doubtful if all the monuments there attributed to him are of his own hands; there is no question about the tomb of the Florentine Francesco Tornabuoni in the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, the remains of the monument to Pope Paul II in the crypt of St. Peter's, and the beautiful little marble tabernacle for the holy oils in St. Maria in Trastevere bears the inscription Opus Mini.

There can be little doubt that he was also the sculptor of several monuments in Santa Maria del Popolo, especially those of Bishop Gomiel and Archbishop Rocca (1482), and the marble reredos given by Pope Alexander VI. Some of Mino's portrait busts and profile bas-reliefs are preserved in the Bargello at Florence; they are full of life and expression, though without the extreme realism of Verrocchio and other sculptors of his time.

His other works include:

Giorgio Vasari's vita of Mino da Fiesole in his Lives of the Artists dismisses him as a mere follower of Desiderio da Settignano, his master.

References

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