Acquired in exchange from the former Königlichen Museen (Gipsformerei, Berlin) in 1886 for £10 (200 marks)
Ascribed to Mino del Reame (active about 1460-80)
Church of S. Maria in Trastevere, Rome, Italy
The tabernacle, signed OPVS MINI, is apparently by the same hand as the dismembered ciborium (canopy) of Cardinal d'Estouteville in S. Maria Maggiore, Rome, of which a section now in Cleveland is also signed OPVS MINI, and which forms the nucleus of a group of works in Rome which bear this signature. These sculptures differ markedly in style from works by the Florentine Mino da Fiesole (1429-84) who habitually used the same signature. A cast of a tabernacle by Mino da Fiesole in S. Croce in Florence signed OPVS MINI is also in the collections at the V&A (museum no. 1886-190) and the contrast in style between these two tabernacles effectively illustrates the problem of Mino da Fiesole and Mino de Reame. Vasari describes a sculptor, Mino del Regno or del Reame (ie. from the Kingdom of Naples), trained in Naples and active in Rome in the mid-15th century, who is distinct from Mino da Fiesole. Nevertheless, some authorities have identified this sculptor with Mino da Fiesole, who worked in Naples in 1455 and was later active in Rome. They explain the contrasting style of the group of signed works in Rome as due to an assistant of Central Italian formation employed by Mino da Fiesole's Roman workshop. However, the group of Roman works seem to date from about 1460, when Mino da Fiesole was documented active in Florence, and his period of independent activity in Rome dates only from the 1470s. It seems likely, therefore, that the group of signed Roman works are by another sculptor, not of Florentine origin, who happened to bear the same name.