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Mask located in the Duomo Museum, Florence, Italy
FILIPPO BRUNELLESCHI, the pioneer architect of the early Italian Renaissance, the master who created the cupola of the cathedral at Florence, was born in that city in 1377 and died there on April 15, 1446. It is a proof of the exceptional honour and esteem in which the artist was already held amongst his contemporaries that the Opera del Duomo proposed that he should be buried in S. Maria del Fiore, and placed marble for the monument at the disposal of his adopted son and heir, the sculptor Cavalcanti, free of charge. Andrea di Lazzaro Cavalcanti, usually called Buggiano after his birthplace (1412-1462), erected the tomb with the well-known bust in relief in memory of his great foster-father in 1447 on the wall of the right aisle of the cathedral at Florence. The relief was modelled after the master’s death mask, taken by Cavalcanti. In this case, therefore, the death mask was demonstrably intended as a technical aid to an artist who had no undue confidence in his unaided skill. The original is in the Museum of S. Maria del Fiore, the so-called Opera del Duomo. (Giorgio Vasari: Le Vite, etc., edited by Guglieimo della Valle, Siena, 1791, vol. iii. pp. 129 ft. No mention of the death mask; Cornel von Fabriczy: Filippo Brunelleschi, Stuttgart, 1892, pp. 308-309 and 404; Thieme and Becker: Allg. Lexikon der bildenden Kunstler, Leipzig, 1912, vol. vi. p. 213.) Photograph by Brogi.
Black & White Photos and quotations from: Benkard, Ernst, & Green, Margaret (1927). Undying Faces, A Collection of Death Masks. New York, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.