Domenico, David, Benedetto Ghirlandaio
1449-1494; 1452-1525; 1458-1497
The illuminator activity of the Ghirlandaio brothers (especially that concerning Benedetto and Domenico, better known as painters) is still subject to dispute. It was Giorgio Vasari who recounted in the Vite that Benedict dedicated himself “also to the art of miniature”, which is a point confirmed in at least two other documents (original text: Pasut, Domenico, David e Benedetto, p. 198, one of which even says that “era miniatore, e per iscesa ha perduto un occhio e dell’altro si medicina”) and the same is also present in the document that records his death, even though he dedicated himself to this art only during his youth and always within the setting of the family workshop. While one of his pictorial works survives in the church of Nôtre-Dame of Aigueperse in Auvergne, nothing, as of today at least, has remained from his book production (but regarding this controversial debate see the bibliography cited in the critical note about the Urb. lat. 1-2). Similar considerations can also be made for Domenico: Annarosa Garzelli attributes to the artist the full-page miniature with the Vision of Ezekiel on f. 1v of Urb. lat. 57, on account of the presence of a jewel of a particular type, that reappears in the Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni, Madrid, Collezione Tyssen-Bornemisza, and also on the St. Helena in the Finding of the True Cross from the page of the graduale contained in the album of fragments Ross. 1192, f. 22r of the Vatican Library (and also in other works, all of which ascribed to Domenico; see Morello, Pittori e miniatori, p. 102). Francesca Pasut, by contrast, identifies the hand of Attavante in these pictorial pieces, and suggests that Ghirlandaio contributed to the preparatory drawings (Pasut, Domenico, David e Benedetto, p. 199), just as might have been the case for the pages of the Urbino Bible, Urb. lat. 1-2.
PASUT, Domenico, David e Benedetto, pp. 198-201.
Urb. lat. 1, f. 125r - Urb. lat. 2, f. 31v
Urb. lat. 1, f. 138r - Ross. 1192, f. 22r