National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Astorgio Manfredi Mino da Fiesole (artist)
Florentine, 1429 - 1484
Astorgio Manfredi, 1455
marble
overall: 51.5 x 54.2 x 27.7 cm (20 1/4 x 21 5/16 x 10 7/8 in.)
Widener Collection
1942.9.135
On View
From the Tour: 15th-Century Sculpture in Tuscany
Object 4 of 6

Mino da Fiesole and his patrons, the Medici family of Florence, were pioneers in the revival of an ancient Roman art form—the independent portrait bust. The subject of this work, Astorgio Manfredi, was a condottiere, or mercenary captain, who offered his services and those of his army to warring Italian city-states. He was governor of Faenza in 1455 when he commissioned the twenty-five-year-old Mino to carve his portrait, perhaps inspired by busts that the artist had made two years earlier for his Florentine ally Piero de’Medici.

Manfredi is depicted as a man of action. With deeply incised eyes set beneath a furrowed brow, he gazes intently into the distance. His face sags softly under his chin; deep vertical folds cut into the flesh of his cheeks. Over a shirt of intricately carved chain mail, Manfredi wears a richly embossed breastplate. An inscription on the underside of the work—one of the earliest to be found on a Renaissance portrait bust—identifies the sitter, artist, and date of completion: ASTORGIVS. MANFREDVS. SECVNDVS. FAVENTIE. DOMINVS./ ANNO. XLII. ETATIS SVE./ 1455./ OPVS. NINI. (“Astorgio II Manfredi, Lord of Faenza, in the 42nd year of his age, 1455, the work of Nino.”) The spelling here of Mino’s name as Nino remains unexplained.

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