St John the Baptist

St John the Baptist

Acquired in exchange from the Königlichen Museen (Gipsformerei, Berlin) in 1899

Original:

St John the Baptist
Benedetto da Maiano (1441-97)
1471-81
Marble
Sala de' Gigli in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy

This figure holds a tall bronze cross in its right hand and surmounts a marble doorway in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. The doorway was the culmination of a scheme undertaken by Benedetto da Maiano in 1472 to divide the Sala Grande on the second floor into an anteroom (the Saletta known since the 1480s as the Sala de' Gigli) and an audience chamber (Sala dell' Udienza). Benedetto designed the doorway in collaboration with his brother, Giuliano (1432-90) but was solely responsible for the figurative parts of the door surround, which comprise: St John the Baptist, flanked by four putti supporting flaming candelabra, above the entablature in the Saletta, with a corresponding figure of Justice above the entablature in the Sala dell'Udienza. The intarsia of the doors was executed by Giuliano da Maiano and Francesco di Giovanni (Il Francione) (1428-95) and represent Petrach and Dante in the Saletta, with vases of flowers on the other side.