Mino da Fiesole (Mino di Giovanni) (Italian, Papiano or Montemignaio 1429–1484 Florence)
Height: 14 1/2 in. (36.8 cm)
Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 605
Saint John the Baptist is represented here as an adolescent, at the age he began preaching in the wildnerness and when he is said to have encountered the young Christ for the second time. Images of the youthful Baptist were a mainstay in the furnishing of Florentine palaces. Because Saint John was Florence's patron saint, the display of such busts could be read as a statement of civic loyalty and the particular animation with which they were carved ensured the city's protector had an almost living presence in the home. A sculptor much in demand, Mino had numerous assistants to whom he delegated such works.
Conte Rasponi Spinelli ; [ Raoul Heilbronner , Paris ] ; Benjamin Altman (until 1913; bequeathed to MMA)