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Desiderio da Settignano
Born at Settignano, Tuscany, 1428; died at Florence, 1463. He is said to have been the son of a stone-cutter and was admitted to the association of "Maestri di Pietra" (stone-workers) in 1453. He studied under Donatello, from whom no doubt he acquired the characteristics of fineness, joyfulness, elegance, and distinction which cause his work to be often confused with his master's. In spite of his brief life his name ranks among those of the great artists of his day. His chief productions are: the architectural tomb covered with fine sculpture of Carlo Marsuppini, secretary of the republic, in the Church of Sta Croce; a marble tabernacle at San Lorenzo with a charming standing figure of the Child Jesus; a very interesting bust of Marietta Strozzi in the Strozzi Palace; a graceful relief of the Madonna and Infant on the corner of the Palazzo Panciatichi; portrait bust of a young girl in the Bargello; the wooden statue of the Magdalen over her altar in the Church of Sta Trinità (finished by Benedetto da Majano); and a bust in the Palazzo Pubblico at Forli. Besides these, mention should be made of a number of works attributed to Desiderio by some authorities and by others to Donatello or his school - a Pietà in San Lorenzo, Florence; a Beatrice d'Este in the Louvre; a Virgin and Child in the South Kensington Museum, London; a portrait bust of a young woman in the Museum, Berlin; the "Child Laughing" in the Benda Collection, Vienna; and the well-known relief of Sta Cecilia in the collection of Lord Wemyss, London.
PERKINS, Tuscan Sculptors (London, 1886); CICOGNARA, Storia della scultura (Venice, 1853); BODE, Denkmaler der Renaissance-Sculptur Toscanas (Munich, 1905).
M. L. Handley.