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The Uffizi gallery was not originally meant to be a gallery. It was commissioned in 1560 by Cosimo de’ Medici, and it was meant to house the administrative and judiciary offices of Florence. Cosimo had his favorite artist, Giorgio Vasari, design the building. And after his death in 1574 another artist, Bernardo Buontalenti, finished the building. then in 1581, Francesco I de’ Medici, Cosimo’s son , set up a private Gallery with statues and other precious objects on the top floor of the east wing of the Uffizi, which were all part of the private family collection of art objects. This collection continued to grow as more and more of the Medici family contributed to the museum.
Coming to this museum I was very excited to see two particular painting. Both of which were painted by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, they are both self portraits one of him as a young man and the other as an old man. I think it was really amazing to see these paintings together because you can see how his style of painting has evolved over the years, even the difference in brush strokes. I was really happy that I got to see these paintings because I was having a hard time finding them, I actually had to go back into the museum to see go find them and I’m really glad I did, they were truly amazing
The museum used to be known as the Institute and Museum of the History of Science (Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza). The museum owns one of the world’s major collection of scientific instruments and has nine rooms on the first floor devoted to the Medici collection. In 2008 the museum closed to make renovations and two years later June 10, 2010 they reopened under the new mane Museo Galileo .
I personally really enjoyed going to this museum.One of the most interesting things in the collection to me was the giant armillary globe that designed and built by Antonio Santucci.constructionn started on March 4, 1588, and completed on May 6, 1593. The globe is about 146 inches tall and 96 inches wide, and it is made out of wood and metal. the globe is meant to represent the “universal machine” of the world according to the concepts by Aristotle and Ptolemy. The terrestrial globe is placed at the center. It even displays territories that were still relatively unknown at the time.
That giant Armillary Globe is quite the spectacular object! As you wrote it is intended to represent the “universal machine”. However can you tell us a bit more about exactly what that is? What does this “machine” do, what did it look like? Thank you!
I agree,these two self portraits by Rembrandt are fabulous works. Over his lifetime he did numerous self-portraits and we are lucky to have these today as a record of the man and the artist. These two works are prime examples of the amazing range of works housed in this wonderful museum!
Today on the 20th of June the class took a trip the Villa Di Castello. The garden was beautiful and had many sights and pieces of art to marvel at. One of the first sculptures that you see as you walk in is the Fiorenza Fountain. The fountain was originally created by Giambologna. There is a statue by Giambologna on top of the fountain but the statue was moved because it is considered to be one of the most beautiful statues of the sixteenth century. The statue is now located inside to preserve it. The statue depicted the goddess Venus.
What can you tell us about this Villa and its surroundings? Who built the villa and who designed the gardens? Is there anything significant about the Villa itself? Thank you.
On Friday, we finally saw one of the most magnificent places of Florence. The Duomo of the Santa Maria del Fiore was breathtaking. The Fresco on the inside of the dome was almost as beautiful as the sights at the top of the Duomo. From the top, we were able to see most of the city and the surrounding mountains. Even watching the clouds was more intense because of the increased elevation. In class we watched an entire video on how Brunelleschi planned out the dome. The Frescoes on the inside were Giorgio Vasari’s depiction of the last judgement. Although they were designed by Vasari, it was mostly painted by his lesser Frederico Zucccari. Since the fresco is meant to be seen from below, as you get higher in the dome, the distortion becomes more apparent. Cosimo I de’ Medici originally had the idea to paint the dome interior. In 1572, he commissioned Vasari to paint the Frescoes on the inside of the Dome. The inner dome fresco worked with different layers and much of the inspiration was drawn from the Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel. The dome was divided into six rows that went from the holy to the damned. Vasari died in 1574, which is why Zuccari had to finish the rest. Zuccari did not care for Vasari’s style and tried to make it as much his own as possible. He stopped using Vasari’s method of fresco painting and instead used a dry method which was simpler but more perishable. Though Vasari followed the inspiration of Michelangelo, Zuccari more closely followed the models of Raffaelo. It is fascinating for this research to see the stark contrast between a student and his master but what I find even more astounding is that Vasari gets credit for a Fresco that was basically painted over and left very little of his own work standing. This fresco is more the work of Zuccari rather than Vasari, and of course the Medici’s once again had their hands in this one.
This is an excellent overview of the frescoes on the interior and sheds much light on its history. Vasari is usually given credit for the work as he had planned it though, as you wrote the actual painting was done by Zuccari. Thee are not considered “great” even though I feel they are quite accomplished especially when seen close-up, they loose their punch when viewed from the floor The most celebrated aesthetic aspect of these is Zuccari’s use of saturated and intense color.
Medici Villa di Castello
The fountain of Hercules and Antaeus
The fountain was a symbol of Cosimo leading Florence into a new Golden Age after a long period of warfare and suffering to peace, prosperity and harmony. The fountain of Hercules and Antaeus showed that Cosimo had defeated his enemies by wisdom and not just by strength. The fountain was designed by Niccolo Tribolo. The legend is that Antaeus who is a giant challenges travelers to a fight and kills them. He was finally challenged by Hercules who won. Hercules realized that Antaeus was powerful because he had power when he had contact with the earth. Hercules lifted Antaeus from the ground and crushed him to his death. The statue symbolized the victory of Cosimo de’Medici over the enemies of Florence from the rebels who tried to depose him in the early months after he became Duke.
The fountain was decorated from top to bottom with marble and bronze sculptures. The marble pool where the water poured into had eight sides as the base of the fountain. The base had marble statues of children which was protected by the tazza or basin above as if it was being sheltered from the rain. Four heads of capricorns, a combination of a fish and a ram, one of the emblems of the Medici family looked down from the upper basin. Above that basin, the were more figures of children decorating the pedastal. Vasari wrote: “From the mouth of this Antaeus he intended that, instead of his spirit, there should pour out through a pipe water in great abundance, as indeed it does.” It says this because there was a hidden pipe with small nozzles circling the fountain. If you turn the key, the water could be turned on drenching the spectators with fine jets of water.
An, your discussion of the fountain at Villa Medici Castello is excellent. Imagine how magnificent it must have been in the late 16th century to sit by that fountain, it’s waters flowing while Cosimo’s favorite artists and thinkers discussed ideas!
Today, we took a bus to see an old Medici estate. It was part of the Medici Villas and was called Villa Della Petraia. Named for the rocky nature of its soil, it overlooks a large portion of Florence. I was disappointed that I could not see the duomo from the top of the wall but thats probably because it was too far away or simply out of sight. The views were gorgeous and it was interesting to notice the entire area is surrounded in mountains. There were many fruit plants, fountains and abstract trees. The trees themselves were beautiful, I could barely comprehend how they formed to be the shapes that they had taken. After walking up the stairs and walking down the path, one comes to the statue of the Appennino which represents the Appenine mountains. In Pratolino there is a larger statue. The statue is holding himself shivering in the cold above a still pond with flowers covering his unshaped lower half. Ammannati cast the figure in 1563 and what is more interesting about this artist is that he was the sculptor of the Fountain of Neptune in 1565 two years later, which we see everyday in the Palazzo Vecchio. Personally, I really enjoy whenever there are links between different places we visit and how even in the most obscure places there are connections to be made.
Gabe, Your discussion is excellent but we went to the Villa Medici di Castello not Villa Medici Della Petraia. That particular Villa happens to be two bus stops before the one we went to and is also quite interesting as it was originally owned by Brunelleschi’s family,then the Stozzi’s before the Medici bought it!
Today we visited the Medici Villa di Castello. When you first see it, it is very beautiful and you can smell the flowers when you take the first steps in. This place actually reminds me of a bigger version of a rose garden that is also walled in at a park down the street from my house back home. I go there all the time to sit by the fountain and smell the flowers and just relax. I looked up some of the history of this place and found some interesting information.
The site is named after the Roman aqueduct that anciently linked Florence to Sesto Fiorentino. As a matter of fact, the Medieval word Castellum means reservoir, water tank, hence the name Castello.In 1477 Giovanni and Francesco di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici, from the branch of the Popolani, bought houses and lands in this area and they began the first restoration of the manor house. Since the beginning a small walled garden had lain to the west side of it. In this “secret garden” rare plants were cultivated. This villa is particularly linked to the history of that Medici branch that lived there from its origins. In fact the Grand Dukes who reigned in Tuscany from the 16th to the 17th century descended from this part of the family. Giovanni dalle Bande Nere spent his childhood in Castello and so did his son Cosimo, who was to become the first Grand Duke of Tuscany. Many were the members of this family that dedicated themselves to the culture and study of special plants, and some of them played important roles in the maintenance and development of the garden of Castello. The two most prominent Medici were Cardinal Giovan Carlo (1611-1663) and the Grand Duke Cosimo III (1642-1723), who collected a great variety of jasmines in a greenhouse called “Stufa dei Mugherini”. The most sweet smelling of these flowers was called “Granduca di Toscana
After the Medici family came to an end, the garden went through a short period of decadence, but then it passed under the control of the House of Lorraine. The new Grand Dukes of Tuscany took an interest in this place and had the big greenhouse called “Stanzone dei Limoni ” built, to house the citrus fruits trees .
It was nice to visit a place that reminded me of home.
Abby, this is a marvelous work that gives us so much important information about Villa di Castello some of whichI was not aware of! You chose to focus on the history of the building and its surroundings, wonderful!
Week 2 response: when we visited the Gallio museum there was so many interesting things everywhere! I learned a lot. What I really liked and learned about was the Armillary Sphere. The Armillary sphere started to be built on March 4, 1588 and was completed on May 6, 1593. This huge Armillary Sphere was built under supervision of Antonio Santucci. The Armillary Sphere is more then 3 meters in height. What it is a model of objects in the sky with a spherical framework of rings, centered on earth or the sun. It represents lines of celestial longitude and latitude and also the ecliptic. Something else I learned at the museum is that over the years the Medici family patrons of the arts and science had a collection of scientific instruments that was housed for about two centuries. Now this museum was a lot about Galileo so I want to mention him! Galileo is famous for his revolutionary scientific theories like his concept of motion, and structure of the universe. Galileo also designed and made instruments like the geometric and military compasses. It’s a compact device used to perform an amazing operations for civil and military purposes. Another thing I liked at the museum that was really cool is the surgical instruments for operations on the skull. The person who made these instruments was Joseph Malliard and Giovanni Alessandro Brambilla Invented this. The surgical instruments were made out of steel and ivory. The skull instruments kit was used for treating skull fractures. The instruments were scrapers, knives, hooks, levers, tweezers, clamps and hammers.
As I kept walking through the museum I saw more and more inventions. The planetary clock was really cool. The clocks innovative dial allows the motion of all the planets to be seen at a glance. The circles of the planets Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Mercury orbit in a small disk which in turn rotates clockwise. The dragon on the clock shows the position of the orbital nodes of the moon that shows the places where lunar and solar eclipses could occur. The centre it shows the disks phase and age of the moon. The second disk bears the sun. There was also a pair of globes one celestial the other terrestrial. The last thing I’m going to talk about is one of my favorites that I saw the telescopes. The telescopes were huge and made out of wood. The telescopes were made for astronomical observatories. In the 18th century the telescopes featured a concave metal mirror in place of the objective lens that came into common use. The first small model telescope designed were for mainly amateur astronomers and soon were developed into powerful reflecting telescopes that equipped the great astronomical observations. I learned a lot at the science museum and found it all very interesting and fun!!
For some reason it seemed shocking that Cosimo de Medici spent so much time and effort on the Villa di Costello. Probably because we only went in the garden today, but quite a few of the greats of the 16th century had a hand in the furnishing and revamping this Medici estate. While the ridiculously wealthy family owned over a dozen properties, the Villa di Costello was a country palace, exhibiting their wealth and power. In 2013, the villa was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
Masterpieces including Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and Primavera (The Allegory of Spring) once adorned the walls of the palatial villa. The gardens of the Villa deeply influenced the design of Italian Renaissance gardens and the later French formal and English garden styles. Italian engineer Piero da San Casciano was commissioned to create a system of aqueducts to bring water to the villa and its’ three-tiered gardens, the sculptor Niccolò Tribolo to construct fountains and statues, and Giorgio Vasari to renovate and expand the villa. This place is just dripping with reputation, but today it seems like a pleasant, far removed park. It’s a strange kind of a shame that the greatness of the ruling family, who could commission the greatest craftsmen of their time is now a place where ordinary people can go to feed the fish…but it’s also kind of a wonderful thing too. It feels conflicting, but then again that’s just about everywhere we’ve been to. How peculiar.
“Costello” is supposed to be “Castello.” My autocorrect doesn’t appreciate history.
Hahahaha!!! Molto bene…
I couldn’t agree more that this marvelous place has such a magnificent history but is basically a wonderful Park. Not that we should be upset as the gardens are spectacular. The building is closed to the public as it is now the home of Accademia della Crusca, quite odd in itself!
While the Galileo Museum wasn’t my favourite place to visit, it was one of the places that left me in a state of awe. I know it’s the chauvinism of our modern times where most things are available to us everyday plebs, assuming that people 500+ years ago “couldn’t have possibly known how to do that.” That being said, I think they showed all of us up. Nowadays we have the tools and methods built off the discoveries of the great scholars and scientists of the past, but they did things in style! Sure we have scales to measure weight, but they created beautiful, ornately sculpted works of art…that were scales.
To me it’s hard to imagine the practicality behind the intricacies of supremely decadent structures and objects, but it doesn’t matter to me either. The inventions of the past are not simply relic versions of amenities we have today, they are like time capsules; embodying a time where functionality was not enough until it was beautiful too. These people were developing new methods of understanding our world, all the while keeping it classy. Of course this was not the case for all items, especially for use by all classes of people, but the science museum felt like an art museum. It is a portal to a movement that appears more elegant than today.
Beautifully stated Livy. That of course, as you know..is one of my main arguments for the current “STEM” movement that should be STEAM,the “A” being Art of course! Not only did they create objects to make their and our lives much easier but they were aesthetically designed as well!
Upon entering the Galleria dell’ Accademia, visitors are met by the plaster cast of the Giambologna masterpiece, Rape of the Sabines. It is signed OPVS IOANNIS BOLONII FLANDRI MDLXXXII (“The work of Johannes of Boulogne of Flanders, 1582”) There is a marble version in the Loggia dei Lanzi, placed there after Francesco I Dei Medici ordered it be installed there for public viewing. Originally, this piece was simply to serve as an exhibition of Giambologna’s abilities, but it was too good to keep private. While the name sounds gruesome, the sculpture is more about the abduction of Sabine women by the Romans. In the early History of Rome, the male followers Romulus were looking to find wives, trying and failing to negotiate an agreement with the nearby Sabine people. During the Festival of Neptune Equester, the Romans invited people from all closeby towns, including folk from Crustumerium, Caenina, and Antemnae as well as many of the Sabines. Romulus gave a signal, at which point the Romans apparently abducted the Sabine women and fought off the men. It is said that eventually an agreement was reached in which the Sabine women accepted Roman husbands and were allowed free choice and promised civic and property rights. It is also said there was no act of sexual violation, which kind of seems doubtful in this case, but who really knows…
Another spectacular room of the Accademia is the Sala degli Orcagna, where hundreds of plaster casts for bronze sculptures crowd the room. Amongst the rows of faces, one figure caught my attention. The Vow Of Innocence by Lorenzo Bartolini is a fairly humble but incredibly beautiful piece. A young girl, promising a vow of chastity holds two turtledoves in front of her with an inquisitive expression on her face. While her breasts are exposed, a cloth is gently draped from the bend of her arm across her lower body. The simplicity of her elegance is only highlighted by the delicate rose crown atop her free lying hair. In 1848 Lorenzo Bartolini created the piece in what seems to be mostly his preference as opposed to the the beauty standards of the time. The smallish girl does not have her in intricate or covered style, but she emanates purity.
Your excellent discussion of Giambologna’s “Rape of the Sabine” gives us a good background understanding of what the work evokes. Jean de Boulogne, in Italian “Giambologna” was Flemish,basically that was/is from an area that is part Dutch and part Belgian. He was probably the most acclaimed Mannerist sculptor of the Post-Renaissance.
On June 21 the class went to the Accademia. The best statue ever crafted is held here, but we only have four topics to choose from so I can’t speak about it at all. The first topic that I choose is the Rape of the Sabine by Giambologna. This is a great piece because it has three bodies twisted together. It looks like it was a very difficult piece to craft and there is a good amount of detail in it. Giambologna stated to sculpt the statue in 1579 when the Medic’s gave him a block of marble to construct a complex group of figures. The sculpture was originally suppose to be two pieces, but Giambologna decided to add a third piece. The finished work is 13 feet and 5 inches tall.
The second is the plaster molds found at the back of the Accademia. In 1784 the Grand Duke of Tuscany Peter Leopold converted the Friar Hospital of San Matthew into a gallery so that students at the Accademia could study the greatest works of the past. That is why you can find some the best 19th century molds by Lorenzo Bartolini in the Accademia.
Will, you are not telling us anything significant about this work. the Marble version of Giambologna’s “Rape of the Sabine” is not the work in the Accademia. You need to discuss much more about this particular work please. Secondly, you have not discussed anything significant abut the plaster cast room either. Please do go into more specifics about these two things, thank you.
The Accademia Gallery
The Accademia is probably most famously known for being the home of Michelangelo’s David but it is filled with many other incredible works of art, one of which being The Deposition from the Cross. The Deposition was painted between 1503 and 1507, first by Filippino Lippi. Lippi painted the top part of the painting but before he could finish he died at the age of 45. Then after Filippino’s death the commission was passed to Pietro Perugino, who finished the paining including the main figure of Jesus Christ.The painting depicts Jesus being taken off of the cross after his death by four men. It also features his mother, The virgin Mary, fainting in one corner and Mary Magdalen praying at the base of the cross. Personally I feel like this painting shows a lot of emotion like the surprised face of St. John the apostil. Also Filippions portion of the painting shows a lot of movement especially in the ribbon that is wrapped around the top of the cross.
Another amazing work at the museum was Giambologna’s The Rape of the Sabine Women. This particular one is made of plaster and the same marble one, made in 1574 to 1582, is on display in Piazza della Signoria in Loggiadei Lanzi. This sculpture was originally intended to show that the artist, who was born Jean Boulogne, could make such a complex structure. I find it really amazing that when creating this sculpture he didn’t actually have a subject matter in mind, it’s name came only after Francesco Medici decided to be shown in Piazza della Signoria. Its also really amazing to think that this was carved out of only one large block of marble.
I agree that this work is a complex one and there is clearly considerable emotion shown. the fact that it was worked on and completed by two artists with very different concerns is an important factor. Can you see specific, stylistic differences between the areas painted by the artists? The Giambologna, “Rape of The Sabine” is quite the amazing sculpture, here though we are focusing on the plaster. Technically he would have created this first using clay then plaster, then the Marble work would have been made.
To add another blog post I’m going to write about Bologna. The adventure to Bologna started early in the morning at 6:30 sharp at the Florence Bus Station. Once everyone gathered, we departed to Bologna on about a long hour bus ride. When we arrived, we were given headsets and a tour of Bologna. There were a great many markers along the tour such as several major buildings and the two leaning towers. Unfortunately, the statue of Poseidon was being renovated so we were not able to see it. One place in particular that had stood out to me was the San Petronio Bologna. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside the church but inside were beautiful shrines and with a set of masterpieces in the center. There was a large structure with angelic statues above then to its sides were two beautiful organs that apparently were some of the oldest organs of the world. Both are still remarkably in their original condition. One was completed in 1476 and the other in 1596. Bologna was a principal center of Baroque music within Italy and a musical organization had been officially instituted by Pope Eugenius IV in 1436. After visiting this church we continued our tour through the food markets, which in my opinion seemed far more organized and diverse than the market of florence. We saw many typical foods of Bologna such as its renowned mortadella. There were a lot of meat stands and cheese stands. A unique meat we saw when walking was chocolate salami, which is also a typical food of bologna. Once we finished our tour we boarded the bus and went to the Accademia dei Notturni. There we saw how old-fashioned handmade tortellini is crafted. We saw how raw pasta was shaped and formed from the basic ingredients. Tables were set and we sat down to enjoy a wondrous feast prepared for us with complimentary wine. Of all the meals I have eaten in Italy, this was one of my favorite. My favorite food served to me was the parmesan tortellini. When we finished we went over to the Gelato University to learn of how the process of making Gelato has shifted over the years from simple mechanisms involving many people to complex machines. We had Gelato after and were able to try flavors that appealed to us. As the day came to an end, I climbed back onto the bus and rode home with a smile on my face.
Gabe, your adventures in Bologna certainly were wonderful!
Traveling through the Medici villa, through the gardens and trees, the past wealth of the Medici’s was and has been seen. So from this adventure I was quite curious as to what happened to the Medici blood line itself. I had just assumed that there was a tragic end to them like the Tsars of Russia but it wasn’t as tragic. There rise was simple beginning with the climb of political powers and the wealth followed. One of the branches Medici’s blood lines was ended from the male heir, Piero son of Lorenzo Medici, made an unfavorable treaty with France and was exiled and died. The brother of Piero then came to the power of the family after coming back to Florence from his cardinal hood. The blood line continued to flourish until the youngest members of the family came to disagree with the elders political views and such. They came to an end after the last male heir didn’t have a male heir himself. The Medici family had 4 popes within their line as well as blood connection to most European royal families.
Did this new knowledge change your perception of the Medici in anyway?
Today on June 23 the class went to the Pitti Palace. This was cool for me because I live a short walk from the place and pass by it everyday. It was very interesting to see and there were many great pieces of artwork in the Palace.I found Napoleon’ s bathroom to be one of the more interesting things to see in the palace. One reason why I find it interesting is that the room has a different style than the rest of the place. It has a lot of bright colors and the rest of the place has much darker colors. The bathroom was designed by Giuseppe Cacialli between 1811 to 1813. Napoleon first took over Northern Italy in 1796. He was an untested commander at this point in time and not that well known. He took much larger Austrian armies down with a less superior force of troops and got them to the negotiating table. Afterwards he was appointed Commander of the French army in Italy in march 1796. Napoleon used the palace as his power base while he was in Italy. In 1805 Northern Italy became the kingdom of Italy a provence of France and ruled by Napoleon himself. On April 23rd 1814 the kingdom
http:of Italy was lost to the Austrian and Napoleon lost his hold.
Besides this great information on Napoleon what about the actual Palazzo was intriguing to you? Who else lived here and did Napoleon actually ever reside in Il Palazzo Pitti?
Giovanni de’Bicci de’Medici who died in 1429 was buried in this small Sacristy with his wife Piccarda. Brunelleschi designed the Old Sacristy and in 1520 Michelangelo worked on the New Sacristy. Cosimo the Elder was also burned in the church. Pope Clement VII wished to erect a mausoleum for Lorenzo the Magnificent and his brothers Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino and Giuliano, Duke of Nemours.
The chapel is divided into three distinct parts: the crypt, the Cappella dei Principi and the New Sacristy. The crypt has minor members of the Medici’s who were unceremoniously laid to rest. The Chapel of the Princes has a huge dome designed by Bountalenti and has six Medici’s Grand Dukes buried in there. The New Sacristy is a reminder that the Medici’s were enlightend patrons.
The Lantern at the top of the Medici Chapel is an interesting aspect of the building. It represents where the soul could escape and go to such as afterlife. The lantern is made of marble and at the top of the lantern theres is an orb that has seventy-two facets and about two feet in diameter. The top of the orb has a cross and is a traditional symbol of the Roman and Christian power. Since the Medici family has its own private mausoleum, they are promoting their own personal power with the orb and cross with laurel wreath and lion heads which represents status and power.
^^A better understanding of The Medici Chapel by John W. Dixon, Jr.
Decided to do San Lorenzo and Medici Chapels instead of the Accademia Gallery.
An, you wrote that, ” Cosimo the Elder was also burned in the church.” Oh? Why? The “Old” Chapel is quite the magnificent space,though I think you may agree that the Nuovo Cappelli is far more interesting.
The original palazzo was built for the Pitti family in 1457 by Filippo Brunelleschi. In 1549, the property was sold to the Medici’s and became the primary residence of the grand ducal family. Today the Pitti Palace have many museums inside it. On the first floor is the Palatine Gallery, containing a broad collection of 16th and 17th century paintings, and the Royal Apartments, containing furnishings from a remodeling done in the 19th century; on the ground floor and mezzanine the Silver Museum (Museo degli Argenti) displaying a vast collection of Medici household treasures; and the Gallery of Modern Art is on the top floor, holding a collection of mostly Tuscan 19th and 20th century paintings. In the separate Palazzina del Cavaliere on the upper slopes of the Boboli Gardens is the Porcelain Museum, while the Palazzina of the Meridiana contains the Costume Gallery, a showcase of the fashions of the past 300 years.
In the Boboli Garden, there is an oval shaped island with a tree enclosed pond. It is called The Isolotto. It was built in the seventeenth century by architect Alfonso Parigi. This small island is located in the center of a square bordered by holm oak hedges towering over ten meters, which feature at regular intervals stone and marble statues depicting mythological, historical, bucolic, and picaresque subjects. At the center of the square is a large circular basin, with the Isolotto in the center connected to the mainland by two small bridges. The bridges are bordered by two large gateways, supported by two columns, on each of which is a statue of a Capricorn, symbol of the power of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. On the sides of the columns are four fanciful fountains in the shape of male harpies, which pour water into shell-shaped tanks decorated with grotesque marine animals. Along the sides of the Isolotto Basin are the Putti Fountains, decorated with intertwined dolphins, marine animals, and fantastic masks. The Isolotto is surrounded by a stone railing, which features jars that in the summer contain citrus fruits and other decorative plants. Lush citrus trees also decorate the small bridges.
In the center of the island is the Fountain of the Ocean by Giambologna, consisting of a circular base that supports a large granite tank, above which stands the sculpture of Neptune surrounded by water deities. These deities represent the Nile, the Ganges, and the Euphrates rivers, which symbolically pour their waters into the basin, representing the ocean. The Fountain of the Ocean is more ancient than this part of Boboli Gardens and once stood at the center of the Boboli Amphitheater. It was sculpted in 1576 for Francesco I de’ Medici and has been used as a prototype for all sculptures of this subject.
The original Fountain of the Ocean is now in the Bargello Museum and here is replaced by a copy.
Two other seventeenth-century statues by the Giambologna school emerge from the water: Perseus on horseback and Andromeda with her ankles shackled in the rock.
An This is a wonderful overview of both the Palzzo Pitti and the Giardino di Boboli. Can you tell us what particular element of each stood out to you!?
The other day we went to the Pitti Palace. I was really excited to see the inside of it since I pass by it every day. I don’t even think I saw every room because it was so HUGE! If I lived there I would get lost all the time. The attention to detail was incredible with every room from the furniture to the painting’s on the ceilings. I looked up some history on the Pitti Palace that I found pretty interesting.
It was built in the second half of the 15th centur, probably on a project of Filippo Brunelleschi for Luca Pitti, but was unfinished at his death in 1472. As regards the domestic life inside the palace, we know that it was the home of several components of the family who were distributed in different private apartments. The rooms on the left wing belonged to the Grand Duke, while those on the right side were used by the heir. The lateral wings housed the apartments of their wives. The rooms on the second floor contained the large library, while the side rooms were used for the children. The left side on the ground floor housed the apartment that the Grand Duke used in summer.
In the course of the 17th century, the Pitti Palace was also the privileged venue of very important scientific meetings. As of 1640, Grand Duke Ferdinando II de’ Medici would assemble several scientists for the purpose of conducting natural observations. These meetings witnessed the participation of the Grand Duke, Evangelista Torricelli and Vincenzo Viviani. These sessions gave rise to the Accademia del Cimento, founded in 1657 by Prince Leopoldo de’ Medici and Grand Duke Ferdinando II de’ Medici, which was the first scientific society to be formed in Europe. Its primary purpose was the development and diffusion of Galilean experimental methodology in the field of natural sciences. The Accademia activity provided for a rigorously experimental verification of the principles of natural philosophy, till then supported on the basis of Aristotle’s authority. “Trying and trying again” was the motto that distinguished the Cimento undertaking. The Accademia meetings were held discontinuously for a decade in the apartments of Prince Leopoldo de’ Medici. In 1664, the Accademia put an end to its activity with the publication of Saggi di Naturali Esperienze [Essays on Natural Experiments], which presented the principal results obtained by its members. In 1801, an attempt was made to revive the Accademia del Cimento, but this experiment, born with a certain celebrative emphasis, lasted only the span of 10 days. The Institute and Museum of the History of Science today conserves the experimental instruments the academicians used for their natural observations.
Abby, This is an excellent discussion of the history of the Palazzo Pitti. I particularly like the aspects of scientific investigation that you have interjected as it further emphasizes the wide breath of interests and focus during the Renaissance and of course the interests of the Medici.
Today we went to the Bargello museum on the 28 of June. There were a lot of amazing sculpture. I also like that the themes were different there was a lot about Greek and Roman mythology some about Christianity and some depicting historical events. One that caught my attention was Giambologna’s Florence Triumph Over Pisa. The reason why i like this is because it has a woman who represents Florence that is standing over a crushed elderly man that represents Pisa. The statue stands about 2.6 meters high made from terracotta and was constructed in 1565. The reason why it caught my eye is because Giambologna has the woman portrayed as the dominant feature. Usually during that time the man was mostly thought of as the dominant and it was just something that stood out to me. The statue is suppose to represent when Florence took control over Pisa in 1498.
Will, your choice of a work to focus on is great as this piece by Giambologna is usually not singled out. One of the Humanistic aspects of the Renaissance was a more liberal view of women but certainly not very accepting overall.
Although we didn’t get to see much within our time in rome, we did get to see the colosseum. It was a place of sport, bloodshed and celebrations by the romans, bulit in 70 A.D. The original colosseum was a gift built for the people by the emperor Vespian, however the colosseum wasn’t opened until 80 A.D. when Vespian’s son Titus became emperor. Popularity was gained when the opening of the colosseum held a string of games for 100 days. Over a couple centuries of use the colosseum and lack of up keep it fell apart and now to this day two thirds of the original structure is gone or destroyed.
Il Colosseo is an impressive structure with an obviously diverse history. Your discussion is fine though you haven’t mentioned how magnificent it still is today.
We visited the Pitti Palace, which was once owned by the Medici family bloodline. Much of this is very visible within the art on the ceiling and walls. From stone sculptured Medici crests to portraits of Medici family members in their elegant attire. There were exhibits of costumes, more modern art and banners hanging with fashion photos pretending to be art. Personally, I did not care for the fashion photos because it got in the way of seeing the real art it is covering. I enjoyed how many of the rooms switched off between being based off christianity to being based off roman gods. Inside there was a painting done by Raphael called the Portrait of Agnolo Doni. This portrait was painted between 1506 and 1507. The picture is of a merchant and his wife and was executed during the time when Raphael was studying the art of Leonardo Da Vinci. The wealth of the Agnolo is portrayed in his clothing and his jewelry. This occurred as Raphael was beginning to mature as an artist and becoming one of the greatest artists of his time. There are elements of balance within this portrait such as the contrast of Agnolo’s red clothes against the green background. Influences of Da Vinci can be seen seen in the figures posture and how the background is depicted with a slight hint at a Mona Lisa-esk background.
Il Palazzo Pitti is an amazing place and the collection includes many great works such as those you discussed. It would have helped to know a bit about the history of the building as well.
The final day of our class day trips was visiting the Bargello Museum. Though this museum was not as large as the Uffizi, it still contained many works of other famed master artists such as Giambologna, Michelangelo and Donatello. One of such works is the statue of David by Donatello. Often it is referenced as the Bronze David to distinguish him from an earlier marble David by Donatello. What is odd about this statue is his lavish hat and boots. Since David is supposed to be a shepard boy, he would not be dressed in such a way. The way Donatello dressed him causes confusion amongst onlookers. Most of the story can be seen at first sight with not nearly as much mystery as Michelangelo’s David. At the Bronze David’s feet is his enemies head with a sword gripped beside it, though the story was supposed to be about how David beat Goliath through cleverness rather than brute force. To add on to this, David is not even supposed to have a sword. David was supposed to only be armed by with a sling and a few pebbles. Though what I personally enjoy is how Dontello’s David actually looks like a boy rather than how Michelangelo’s David looks like a man. The statue was commissioned by Cosimo de’ Medici and by the time of Lorenzo Medici’s wedding it stood in the center of their courtyard in the Medici palace of Florence. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the reach of the Medici’s was almost endless. The level of influence they had was demonstrated in the vast spread of art that they had commissioned. Whether or not they were good people, through their funds they added a beautiful variety to the Renaissance. The Renaissance would not have been the same without them.
Gabe, I agree with you about the influence of the Medici on the Renaissance as well as Firenze. As for Donatello’s David it is important to remember that David was the heroic symbol for Firenze and this work stood first in front of Palazzo Vecchio as the symbol of the strength of Firenze.
Going to thlacee Bargello was really cool knowing it history. Construction on the building began in 1255, and it was built to house first the highest magistrate of the Florence City council . Which is pretty much the police chief, the building also held a jail and there would be execution’s in the courtyard. The Bargello is the oldest public building in Florence.
The piece the stuck out the most to me was Narcissus by Benvenuto Cellini. I think the reason I liked it so much was because when I was younger I used to red a lot of Greek mythology , and this myth was always one of my favorites. In the myth Narcissus was knowing to be very good looking, but he brushed most people off, he was kind of full of himself. One day he gets tricking into looking in a pool and he see’s his own reflection and falls in love with it. Refusing to leave his reflection narcissus dies. I think this sculpture shows a lot of emotion in the face almost like he is longing for something, my guess would be his own reflection.
The statue itself was commissioned by Cosimo I de’ Medici in the 1540’s. It was made out of specially ordered Greek marble and its 149 centimeters tall.the statue was held in the Boboli Gardens. Here the statue suffered some damage due to being kept in the open for long time. Then it was eventually transferred to the Bargello.
Natasha, this work by Cellini is quite marvelous. Were drawn to this mainly because of your knowledge of the myth or did you also enjoy the work aesthetically?
The Pitti Palace
The Palace was originally built in 1457 for Florentine banker Luca Pitti. The design for the building was by Fillippo Brunellechi but it was but by his pupil Luca Fancelli. It only featured the middle seven windows at this time. The building was sold in 1549 to Eleonora di Toledo, the wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici. soon after they expanded the palace to in present glory. The expansion was designed by Vasari and Bartolomeo Ammannati, who thought of the Boboli Gardens and built the interior courtyard as it stands now the place is twice the size of the original.
One thing that found pretty interesting about the way that Medici’s set up there throne room. In order to have congress with the grand duke, you would first have to walk though a series of incredibly elaborate rooms with painting covering the walls and ceilings, and at almost the very end of the hall you reach the throne room, and I think the point of this was that by the time you actually get to talk to the Medici’s you already have a sense of your worth compared to theirs. The garden was massive and full of some pretty amazinf sculptures, I really enjoyed Tindaro Screpolato which was the enormous statue of the cracked face. It was made by sculptor Igor Mitoraj out of bronze.
After the extinction of the Medici family, the pitti place was home to a few other family’s first being the Lorraine family, the new grand duke.Followed by the Savoia family until 1871. Napoleon also used the Pitti Palace during his rule over Italy, he had some of the rooms redecorated in the French style .
Natasha, you have given us some great information about Il Palazzo Pitti and Il Giardino di Boboli.
Michelangelo’s Bacchus is a statue that was commissioned by Cardinal Raffaele Riario. Although it was commissioned by the cardinal he rejected the statue, the statue then ended up with the cardinals banker and Michelangelo’s friend of whom purchased the statue in 1506. 66 years later it was brought to the Medici’s house where it stayed for a bit until it was moved to the Museo Nazionale del Bargello.
Brittany, this information about Michelangelo’s Sculpture, “Bacchus” is fine and gives us some background about the work. You never wrote who the person was who bought the piece and how it ended up in “..the Medici’s house..” Which of their homes was this? Thank you.
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