Benedetto Ghirlandaio


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(b Florence, 1458–9; d Florence, 17 July 1497). Italian painter active in France and Italy. He was a member of a family of artists, including his brothers Domenico Ghirlandaio (b Florence, 1448–9; d Florence, 11 Jan 1494) and Davide Ghirlandaio (b Florence, 14 March 1452; d Florence, 11 April 1525). His birthdate is deduced from his father's 1469 tax declaration, in which he is stated to be ten years old. The 1480 declaration says that Benedetto, now 22 years old, had given up working as an illuminator owing to trouble with his eyesight. He was admitted to the Compagnia di S Paolo on 29 January 1479 and accompanied his brothers to Rome in 1481–2. According to Vasari, Benedetto spent many years in France, and documents confirm his presence there by the autumn of 1486. The one painting reasonably attributable to him is a panel of the Nativity (Aigueperse, Notre-Dame), formerly inscribed with his name and an illegible date. The panel is painted in a thoroughly Frenchified version of Domenico Ghirlandaio's style, in which the thin, stiffly drawn forms, reminiscent of Davide's rather than Domenico's work, are clad in a veneer of Flemish detail. Benedetto returned to Florence about the time of Domenico's death. His participation in the decoration of the Tornabuoni Chapel in S Maria Novella, Florence, often posited, is therefore impossible.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.