Benedetto da Maiano, Funeral monument of Giotto
- Benedetto da Maiano
- Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
- Specific location
- Interior, right aisle, first bay, wall, to the right of the aedicule
- Original location
- Interior, left aisle, first bay, wall
- Sculpture, mosaic, engraving, background
- Height: 240 cm ca.; Width: 240 cm ca.;
- White marble, green Prato marble, glass paste tesserae, enamels, gold, pigments
Funerary monument to Giotto di Bondone, commissioned from Benedetto da Maiano by Lorenzo "the Magnificent" de’ Medici in 1490, with an epitaph composed by Agnolo Poliziano. The monument is part of a series of cenotaphs and funerary monuments present in the side walls of the Cathedral, which testify that between the 14th and 16th centuries this space was a sort of pantheon of the city. This type of funerary monument, consisting of a panel with epitaph and a portrait bust of the deceased within a clypeus, was invented by Buggiano in his monument to Brunelleschi, and was taken up again in the cenotaph for Antonio Squarcialupi, and then in the 19th century, in those of Arnolfo di Cambio and Emilio De Fabris.
Giotto was the greatest artist of his time, and is identified by some as a Master Builder of the Opera del Duomo. With his death in 1337, after the design and beginning of construction on the bell tower, he was buried in the ancient basilica of Santa Reparata. Although his burial has never been found, it was known to have been in the left aisle, and this monument was originally placed in correspondence, then moved to its present location prior to 1684. Benedetto da Maiano portrayed him in an ideal way but with highly characterised facial features and serene expression (according to tradition he was ugly and almost deformed). The invention is highly original: Giotto is composing a mosaic tablet depicting the Holy Face of Jesus. This is an evident reference to his (now lost) mosaic on the facade of the portico of the ancient basilica of San Pietro of Rome, and therefore a celebration of his greatness and universality as an artist gifted with faith and intellect. Less obviously, this monument and the others of the series expressed a celebration of the cultural supremacy of Florence.