The Library of a 'Humanist Prince' Federico da Montefeltro and His Manuscripts [by M.G. Critelli]

Mariano del Buono


Among the most famous Florentine illuminators of the fifteenth century and at the head of one of Florence’s main artistic workshops of the period, he accomplished a vast production that broadly influenced the language of the central-Italian Renaissance, though limited mainly to the humanistic sphere and the setting of private devotion. The first part of his career was characterized by an expressiveness resulting in two forms: the wide use of bianchi girari often inhabited by playful putti and by a large mass of animals; and the frequent use of the portrait at the expense of narrative expression, often in conformity with the physiognomic mastery of names like Alessio Baldovinetti and del Pollaiolo. Examples of this creative style include lat. 429, a Plutarch conserved at the Biblioteca Estense of Modena, or the De civitate Dei of St. Augustine (Add. 15246 of the British Library of London), for which he collaborates with Francesco di Antonio del Chierico for Vespasiano da Bisticci. Between 1473 and 1477, together with Gherardo and Monte di Giovanni, he worked on the breviary for the Ospedale di Santa Maria Nuova (Florence, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, ms. 68). Girolamo da Cremona also took part in the enterprise; this stimulated in Mariano a different approach to the layout of the page, which involved a figurative culture built upon the antiquarian language of the Paduan/Ferrarese area, that benefited, for example, from the presence of landscapes similar to Mantegna’s style and from clipei with realistic animals. Probably his workshop also worked on Urb. lat. 250.

Miniatura fiorentina del Rinascimento, pp. 190-215; GALIZZI, Mariano del Buono, pp. 727-730.