(Florence 1436 ca. – 1487 ca.)
Information on the life and works of Baccio Baldini are scarce and often uncertain.
The most concrete reference is perhaps the one that Vasari gave us: about the ‘Life of Marcantonio Bolognese‘, he describes Baccio as a student of Maso Finiguerra and his successor in the art of engraving: ‘he was followed by Baccio Baldini, Florentine goldsmith … ‘. Also on the basis of this continuity the famous series ‘Planets’, historically attributed to Finiguerra, it is now considered a work of Baldini.
Following the style of his master in the use of niello he developed an engraving technique made of thin traits tightly matched and crossed each other called ‘maniera fine’, which has spread rapidly among Florentine engravers of the late fifteenth century.
To Baldini are unanimously attributed the engravings for the illustrations of the two oldest printed books in Europe after the Cosmography of Ptolemy, namely Mount sancto of God by Antonio Bettini, bishop of Foligno, and Comedy by Dante Alighieri printed on vellum in Florence in 1477 and in 1481 respectively.
Drawings for the depictions of these two books were performed by Sandro Botticelli and, according to an anonymous Florentine of the time, this series of drawings ’fu cosa meravigliosamente tenuta’. This agrees with what is subsequently claimed by Vasari which specifies that the Baldini ‘… not having much design, everything he did was with invention and drawing of Sandro Botticello’.