The (almost) unknown Florentine museum attached to the refectory of San Michele a San Salvi

Yesterday I posted about Andrea del Sarto’s Last Supper in Florence.  Attached to the same building is a small but fine museum of 15th and 16th century art, in addition to the main event of the Last Supper.

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I might lose my membership in the world of art historians because while I took pictures of a few of the artworks that grabbed my attention in this smallish museum, I didn’t take adequate pictures (or, god forbid, hand-written notes) of the labels that identify the artist.  From the depths of my heart, I apologize.  It was a hot, hot, hot day in Florence and I simply failed to live up to my creed. :-)

 

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But this odd painting certainly did grab my attention!  It is, I assume, a vision of Saint Mary in heaven, bestowing a string of pearls? beads? to someone below her on earth, I would guess?

Anyway, what I liked is the bodiless angels floating around Mary in the shape of a mandorla (almond).  Their heads and wings are kind of creepy, floating as they do around Mary.

 

And, speaking of being surrounded by cherubim and seraphim, look at this oil painting!

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Again, I would be fired as a curator, but I don’t know who painted this work. (But I know where the label is if I need the info; it’s right beside the painting for goodness sake! My art historical training is playing out in this post, as a kind of Catholic guilt.  I am smiling as I write this silly thing.)

But, check out the multitudes surrounding Christ on the cross, above whom is God the Father, and below is Mary and 2 others.

 

But, as entertaining to me as the 2 works above were, the one that really gave me a jolt was this:

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It represents, of course, the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriele tells the Virgin Mary that she will bear the Son of God.  I’ve seen thousands of renditions of this scene, which one of the most hopeful moments in Christian art.

But, what I have never seen before is Gabriel standing on 2 little clouds, one for each foot, that makes it look like he is hover-boarding up to Mary!

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Crazy funny to me!

There are many fine works of painting and some sculpture in this fine museum.

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Vai!  You’ll be glad you did!

Vasari Corridor

You can find plenty online about this amazing passageway that connected the Medici from their Palazzo Pitti all the way to Palazzo Vecchio above the city of Florence. It’s tricky finding good pictures that show how the corridor connects, but the following drawing recently came to my attention and its a good one:

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Here’s how an actual part of the corridor appears from the Uffizi:

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Palma Bucarelli

Palma Bucarelli (1910 –  1998) was an Italian arts administrator, the director of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna (GNAM) in Rome from 1942 to 1975.
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Early life

Palma Bucarelli was born in Rome. She earned a degree in art history at the Sapienza University of Rome.[1]

Career

As a young art historian she worked at the Galleria Borghese and in Naples. During her thirty-three years as head of the Italian National Gallery of Modern Art, Bucarelli was responsible for protecting the gallery’s collections from damage while it was closed during World War II; she arranged to place paintings and sculptures in historic buildings including the Palazzo Farnese and Castel Sant’Angelo.[2] She was one of the Italian delegates to the First International Congress of Art Critics, held in 1948 in Paris.[3]

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After the war, she oversaw such events as exhibitions of works by Pablo Picasso (1953), Piet Mondrian (1956), Jackson Pollock (1958), Mark Rothko (1962), and the Gruppo di Via Brunetti (1968). She defended controversial works such as Piero Manzoni‘s ‘”Merda d’Artista” and Alberto Burri‘s “Sacco Grande” (1954).[1] Her strong support for abstract and avant-garde works made international headlines in 1959, when she was accused of a bias against figurative art in a public debate.[4] In 1961 she was in the United States, where she gave a lecture in Sarasota, Florida[5] and attended the opening of a major exhibit on Futurism at the Detroit Institute of Arts.[6]

Personal life

Palma Bucarelli married her longtime partner, journalist Paolo Monelli, in 1963. She died in Rome in 1998, from pancreatic cancer, aged 88 years. Her personal collection of art was donated to the National Gallery. Her famously elegant wardrobe was donated to the Boncompagni Ludovisi Decorative Art Museum in Rome. A street near the GNAM was renamed in her memory.[2] The Gallery mounted a show about her influence, “Palma Bucarelli: Il museo come avanguardia”, in 2009.[7]

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References

  1. ^ Jump up to: a b Lucia Livia Mannella, “Palma Bucarelli” Vogue Italia Encyclo.
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b “Palma Bucarelli” Dictionary of Art Historians.
  3. Jump up ^ Denys Sutton, “The First International Congress of Art Critics” College Art Journal 8(2)(Winter 1948): 130.
  4. Jump up ^ Paul Hofmann, “Art Impartiality Pledged by Italy” New York Times (March 7, 1959): 43.
  5. Jump up ^ “Italian Art Expert’s Talk is Tonight” Tampa Bay Times (9 November 1961): 13. via Newspapers.comopen access publication – free to read
  6. Jump up ^ Kathie Norman, “VIPs Impressed” Detroit Free Press (17 October 1961): 17. via Newspapers.comopen access publication – free to read
  7. Jump up ^ Laura Larcan, “Un Direttore di nome Palma Bucarelli, la Guggenheim di Roma” la Repubblica (26 June 2009).

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palma_Bucarelli

Florence, an open-air museum and a protected UNESCO site

I think it is always worth reminding ourselves that Florence, the Renaissance city, is one of the most beautiful and visited art cities in the world. It is truly an open-air museum, placed in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1982. Let’s make a quick rundown of some of the major sites within the city.

Piazza Duomo is the religious centre of the city, featuring the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the majestic Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower, and the Baptistery of St. John the Baptist, with its world renowned bronze doors.

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The square is surrounded by wonderful palaces, such as the Archbishop’s Palace, the 14th-century Loggia del Bigallo and the recently renovated Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (Museum of the Works of the Cathedral) which recreates the original feeling of the 14th-century façade according to the first project by Arnolfo di Cambio with great technical virtuosity.

The absolute masterpiece housed within the Museo dell’ Opera is the Deposition (or Pietà) sculpted by Michelangelo for his own grave.

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In the sculpture, Nicodemo, represented at the top centre, has Michelangelo’s facial features. Some parts of this marble sculpture are unfinished, as Michelangelo often did in order to witness the spirit struggling to break free from block of stone. In 1555, in an outburst of rage, the same artist partially damaged his own sculpture with a hammer.

Piazza della Signoria is the heart of the socio-political life, as well as the seat of civil power with Palazzo Vecchio (previously known as dei Priori and della Signoria). The square hosts important works of art such as the equestrian monument of Cosimo I de’ Medici, by Giambologna. Next to the palace, you can admire the fountain of Neptune by Bartolomeo Ammannati, also called the ‘Biancone’ due to the huge white marble statue of the sea god at the centre of the fountain, riding in a chariot roomed by four horses.

In front of the main entrance of Palazzo Vecchio, you will find copies of two sculptures by Donatello: Marzocco (the lion symbolising the city of Florence) and Judith Beheading Holofernes, in addition to a copy of the David by Michelangelo, whose original statue is preserved inside the Galleria dell’Accademia (Gallery of the Academy of Florence). Next to David, the statue of Hercules and Cacus by Baccio Bandinelli, symbolises strength and ingenuity prevailing over evil.

On the right, facing Palazzo della Signoria, you will find the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most important museums in the world, which once hosted the offices and the state archives of the Grand-Duke. The museum boasts an incomparable collection of Italian and European art from the 13th century on.

In addition to masterpieces by Cimabue, Giotto, Masaccio, Botticelli, Leonardo, Piero della Francesca, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Dürer, and many others, there is also a remarkable collection of ancient sculptures.

The Vasarian Corridor is a spectacular elevated enclosed passageway, connecting Palazzo Vecchio with Palazzo Pitti and offering, from above Ponte Vecchio, a breath-taking view on monuments and on the Arno with its bridges. The corridor hosts a collection of self-portraits, in addition to an important 17th and 18th-century collection of paintings.
The Galleria dell’Accademia hosts the highest number of sculptures by Michelangelo, such as the Prisoners, St. Matthew and the famous David, in addition to important paintings from the second half of 13th century to the end of 16th century, as well as the Musical Instruments Museum.

The National Museum of the Bargello, located inside a palace built in mid-13th century for the Capitano del Popolo (Captain of the People), boasts some of the most important statues of the Renaissance by Ghiberti, Donatello, Verrocchio, the Della Robbia family, Michelangelo, Giambologna, and others. Do not miss the prestigious collections of little bronze statues, maiolica, wax models, enamels, medals, ivory, tapestry, furniture, seals and textiles coming from the Medicean collections or donated by private collectors.

Palazzo Pitti, with its wonderful Boboli Gardens, represents one of the most important monumental complexes with its museums – the Palatine Gallery, the Monumental Apartments, the Silver Museum, the Modern Art Gallery, the Costume Gallery, the Porcelain Museum and the Carriages Museum.

Among the most representative testimonies of the Florence Renaissance, the city boasts some masterpieces planned by Filippo Brunelleschi (in addition to his world renowned Dome) – the Ospedale degli Innocenti (Hospital of the Innocents) and the two churches of San Lorenzo and Santo Spirito – and by Leon Battista Alberti – the façade of the Santa Maria Novella church and Palazzo Rucellai.
Piazza della Repubblica is the “élite square” of the city, with its great historic cafés and 19th-century buildings. The historic centre of Florence is a shopping and entertainment paradise, with the most famous fashion designer boutiques, traditional handicraft workshops, historical markets and typical restaurants, as well as American bars, lounge bars and discos.
Do not miss the churches of San Miniato al Monte, Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella, as well as the great masterpieces of Italian 20th -century architects, such as the Central Railway Station of Santa Maria Novella and the Artemio Franchi football stadium, respectively by Giovanni Michelucci and Pier Luigi Nervi.

Fiera Firenze, an exhibition space extraordinaire, inside a Medicean fortress

What does a city do with an historic fortress, when the idea of a fortress and its original capabilities are no longer needed/wanted?

Well, if it is Florence, you turn it into a modern asset–an exhibition/conference space like no other.

Known as Fiera Firenze, the Fortezza de Basso is now a leading exhibition centre in Tuscany located at the heart of the city, with 100,000 sq m, 65,000 of which are roofed. Among the venues constituting the exhibition area are The Fortezza da Basso, with its 55,000 sq m of covered area, Palazzo dei Congressi (with a congress capacity of around 1,500 seats and an auditorium for 1,000 guests) and Palazzo degli Affari, a modern and multifunctional venue of over 4,000 sq m, with an overall capacity of 1,300 people.

Its privileged location and its charming spaces, reflecting a perfect dialogue between historical architecture and contemporaneity, are the key factors making it a unicum in the fair & congress world.

Every year, the company boasts a portfolio of important events – some of which are leading events for men’s fashion and high quality crafts- as well as important local and international conventions and congresses, mainly focusing on medical-scientific subjects and on the IT sector.
Firenze Fiera also features a Development Department, as well as a Press & Communication Office, actively supporting the organisers of events, fair and congresses.