All Florentine sculptors of the fifteenth century delighted in portraiture and Mino da Fiesole, one of the most appreciated among them, began his career by making portrait-busts, from which he passed to the larger and more monumental works for which he is famous. A considerable proportion of his important sculptures are monuments for great prelates and nobles, of which a number still exist in the churches of Florence and Rome. They generally include a portrait bust or figure of the deceased worthy, and it is probable that the relief of an unknown priest in the Altman Collection originally formed part of such a memorial. It was placed in a circular frame or medallion and can scarcely be fairly judged without its setting, but its strong characterization and fine modeling are obvious without the further definition of any frame. The bust is regarded as an unquestioned work of Mino’s and has been illustrated and described as such by Wilhelm Bode in his Denkmaler der Renaissance Sculptur Toscanas, under “Mino da Fiesole,” Plate 395. The marble formerly formed part of the well-known Hainauer Collection.
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