Late Gothic & Early Renaissance

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Late Gothic & Early Renaissance

Nanni di Banco
Agostino Di Duccio
Bertoldo di Giovanni
Mino da Fiesole

Desiderio da Settignano
Andrea Bregno
Pietro Lombardo
Antonio Lombardo
Tullio Lombardo
Giovanni Antonio Amadeo
Francesco di Giorgio Martini
Benedetto da Maiano
Luca Della Robbia
Andrea della Robbia

Bernardo Rossellino
Antonio Rossellino
Antonio del Pollaiuolo
Niccolò dell’Arca
Andrea del Verrocchio
Desiderio da Settignano.

Desiderio da Settignano, (born c. 1430, Settignano, republic of Florence [Italy]—died January 1464, Florence), Florentine sculptor whose works, particularly his marble low reliefs, were unrivaled in the 15th century for subtlety and technical accomplishment. He is perhaps best known for carving the funerary monument for the humanist Carlo Marsuppini.

Desiderio was raised in a family of stone masons and entered the Stone and Wood Carvers’ Guild of Florence in 1453. Little is known about his education, although he was influenced by the Italian sculptor Donatello, particularly in his low reliefs. In his youth he worked with his brother Geri in a workshop near the Ponte Santa Trinita; his fame seems to have lasted during his lifetime and until soon after his death.

Desiderio’s delicate, sensitive, highly original style is perhaps most exquisitely manifest in his sensuous portrait busts of women and children. These lyrical pieces convey a wide range of moods and emotions, from joy and charm to melancholy and pensiveness. His sense of design and highly refined skill as a marble cutter established him as a master of low reliefs. Some of the most notable are his studies of the Madonna and Child, St. John, and Christ as an infant.

Sometime after 1453 Desiderio designed and carved the monument of Marsuppini in Santa Croce in Florence. This monument was inspired by Bernardo Rossellino’s funerary monument to Leonardo Bruni in the same church. Desiderio borrowed heavily from Rossellino’s design, so the two monuments are strikingly similar. Both feature an arch, an effigy of the entombed man, a relief of the Virgin and Child, and a depiction of angels carrying a garland. With its rich architectural detail and its admirable effigy, Marsuppini’s tomb is exceptionally important in the history of Florentine wall monument. Desiderio also carved the tondi for Filippo Brunelleschi’s Pazzi Chapel in Florence sometime after 1451 and completed the marble Altar of the Sacrament in San Lorenzo, Florence (1461), which is considered to be one of the decorative masterpieces of the 15th century.

Desiderio masterfully employed the technique of rilievo stiacciato (low, or flattened, relief) in a style related to that of Donatello. The delicacy of contrast in his carvings gives his surfaces a glowing, ethereal quality, as seen in his Angel from the Altar of the Sacrament (1458–61) and many of his busts of women.

Encyclopædia Britannica


Desiderio da Settignano. Madonna and Child



Desiderio da Settignano. Tabernacle
Church of San Lorenzo, Florence


Desiderio da Settignano. The Christ Child (?)
c. 1460
Marble, 30,5 x 26,5 x 16,3 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington



Desiderio da Settignano. Laughing Boy
Marble, height: 33 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna



Desiderio da Settignano. A Little Boy
c. 1460
Marble, height 26 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington



Desiderio da Settignano. Tomb of Carlo Marsuppini
White and coloured marbles, height: 613 cm
Santa Croce, Florence



Desiderio da Settignano. Tomb of Carlo Marsuppini (detail)
Santa Croce, Florence



Desiderio da Settignano. Meeting of Christ and St John the Baptist as Youth
Marble relief, diameter 50 cm
Musйe du Louvre, Paris


Desiderio da Settignano. Virgin and Child
c. 1450
Marble, 61 x 36 cm
Galleria Sabauda, Turin


Desiderio da Settignano. Portrait of Marietta Strozzi
c. 1460
Marble, height 52,5 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin



Desiderio da Settignano. Mary Magdalene
Painted wood
Santa Trinità, Florence