Ghirlandaio started independently working in the 1460s, producing various works for the church of Ognissanti. This includes The Last Supper fresco. He worked in San Gimignano in 1475, painting in the Collegiate Church the fresco of The Life of St. Fina. He worked on the Sistine Chapel in 1481-1482, working together with Perugino, Rosselli, and Botticelli to paint the two frescoes The Calling of St. Peter and The Resurrection.
After his work on the Sistine Chapel, Ghirlandaio continued to work on frescoes, decorations, and altar pieces. A few of these is the six frescoes of Scenes from the Life of St. Francis he painted to decorate the chapel of the Sassetti family in Santa Trinita. He also did an altarpiece for the Sassetti Chapel that showed the Adoration of the Shepherds, a work that hinted at an influence of Hugo van der Goes, a Dutch artist that Ghirlandaio admired.
At around 1480, Ghirlandaio married Costanza di Bartolommeo Nucci, who died in 1485. They had two sons Bartolommeo who was born in 1481, and Ridolfo, who was born in 1483. Bartolommeo entered the Camaldolese Order while Ridolfo also became a painter.
In the years 1485 to 1490, Giovanni Tornabuoni commissioned Ghirlandaio to work in th Santa Maria Novella chapel. His work in the Torbuoni chapel that includes fifteen frescoes became his most popular work. These frescoes showed the Life of the Virgin and the Life of St. John the Baptist and were considered to be among Italy’s greatest masterpieces.
In 1488, Ghirlandaio married Antonia di ser Paolo Simone Paoli. He managed a studio with his brothers and taught a lot of students including Michaelangelo. Domenico Ghirlandaio died at the age of forty-five years in the 11th day of November in 1494.
One of Ghirlandaio’s works is an oil painting called The Madonna with Saint Giovannino. It showcases the Mother Mary with Baby Jesus and a winged St. John. Several artists have also created works involving the Madonna with child and the infant St. John such as Boticelli, Michaelangelo, and Rafael because it depicts a vital subject of the Italian Renaissance: the holy maternity.
The painting shows the Madonna kneeling in front of the infant Jesus supported by an infant St. John. The intent of the painting is to depict the holiness of the birth of Jesus; a birth that is heralded by the arrival of St. Joseph.
One noticeable thing about the painting is what seemed to be an unidentified flying object and a man and dog staring intently at it on the upper right corner of the painting. UFO enthusiasts claim that this is proof that there had been UFO sightings even in the 15th century.
Domenici Ghirlandaio Biography. Bio True Story. Web. 2 November 2011.
Biblical Art by Domenico Ghirlandaio. Art and the Bible. Web. 2 November 2011.