Andrea del Verrocchio, circle of
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This painted terracotta bust (currently housed in Santa Maria Novella in Florence) is one of a series produced in the 1490s depicting Antoninus (1399-1459), archbishop of Florence, who had lived within recent memory. After Bernardino of Siena was made a saint in 1450 (only six years after his death), the Florentines were hoping for the same for Antoninus and actively campaigned for his cannonization in the 1480s and 90s by writing letters and donating money. These busts, which follow the format of those representing saints, were surely a part of that campaign, but the process only started in 1516, under the Florentine Pope Leo X, and Antoninus was made a saint in 1523. Antoninus, despite his status as archbishop, was an ascetic dedicated to simple living and poverty, and so he wore his rough Dominican robes rather than the silk embroidered ones of an archbishop and lived and ate simply. He is shown in those plain black robes here, with a hollow-cheeked visage that is the polar opposite of the stereotype of the well-fed monk. This portrait is naturalistic, taken from a death mask. The very molding of Antoninus' face at his death suggests that already at that point he was considered a candidate for cannonization. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.