Monte di Giovanni, b. 1448
Cartolaio, illuminator, Florentine painter he supervised a complex workshop with his brother, Gherardo di Giovanni (Galizzi, Gherardo di Giovanni, pp. 258-262; Id., Monte di Giovanni, pp. 798-801) that was responsible for a large book production, especially for a high-profile patronage, such as Lorenzo de’ Medici (1469-1492), Matthias Corvinus (1458-1490; see Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, ms. Plut. 15.17) and the Aragonese sovereigns, while his relations with the court of Federico da Montefeltro are still elusive (1444-1482), even if new acquisitions allow for some hypotheses to be proposed (see ms. Urb. lat. 329; Labriola, I miniatori fiorentini, pp. 62-63; Ead., Scheda nr. 11, p. 186). The di Giovanni brothers’ career began in the early sixties of the fifteenth century in the shadow of the Badia Fiorentina, for which they provided writing material, produced bindings and “did some work with minium on liturgical codices,” as reported in the accounts of the Badia itself (original text: Galizzi, Gherardo di Giovanni, p. 259). Some of the various ties he formed were those with the convent of San Marco and the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova, for which they produced a series of choirbooks in the mid-seventies (ibidem, p. 259). In the 90s he worked for the Opera del Duomo in Florence, dedicating himself both to the folios of some liturgical books and to the mosaic of the chapel of San Zanobi, together with Domenico Ghirlandaio and with Sandro Botticelli. He also produced the Missal for the Baptistery of San Giovanni, ms. Barb. lat. 610 (Vatican Library; Galizzi, Monte di Giovanni, p. 799).
The death of his brother Gherardo did not interrupt Monte’s career, which instead became more closely linked to the Duomo of Florence and to the Badia until at least 1526 (ibidem, p. 800). His artistic expression shows influences from a variety of elements that he blends in an original and easily identifiable way, even if it is not easily distinguishable from his brother’s style. The aesthetics of Florentine Humanism are combined with that of a Flemish background, especially as regards to his reproduction of atmospheric figures; the “sensitivity for color” along with the “archaeological framework” puts together pages that have an extremely refined effect; the tendency to represent glimpses of the city is combined with an attention to physiognomy, sometimes with the introduction of real portraits of historical figures in the miniatures (original text: ibidem, pp. 798-800).
Miniatura fiorentina del Rinascimento, pp. 267-330; GALIZZI, Monte di Giovanni, pp. 798-801; LABRIOLA, I miniatori fiorentini, pp. 62-63; LABRIOLA, Scheda nr. 11, pp. 183-188.
Urb. lat. 329, ff. 88r and 113r