ART & GEOMETRY # 2 : ST. MARY OF THE FLOWER, THE IMPRESSIVE CATHEDRAL OF FLORENCE

 © Photos: ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI

 

Santa Maria del Fiore (also known simply as the Duomo) is the cathedral of Florence known for its distinctive Renaissance dome. Its name (“Saint Mary of the Flower“) refers to the lily, the symbol of Florence. The impressive Gothic cathedral complex includes the Duomo, the famous baptistery and a campanile. The cathedral was built on the site of the previous one, Santa Reparata, prompted by the magnificence of the new cathedrals in Pisa and Siena. It was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio in 1294 to be the largest Roman Catholic church in the world (although the design was later reduced in size). After Arnolfo died in 1302, work on the cathedral slowed. In 1331, the Arte della Lana (Guild of Wool Merchants) took over responsibility for the construction of the cathedral and in 1334 they appointed Giotto as overseer for the work. His major accomplishment was the campanile.

It was not until 1355 that work resumed on the cathedral itself under a series of architects, including Francesco Talenti, Alberto Arnoldi, Giovanni d’Ambrogio, Giovanni di Lapo Ghini, Neri di Fioravante and Orcagna. The nave was finished by 1380, and by 1418 only the dome was uncompleted. In 1418 a competition was held to design a new dome for the cathedral. The two competitors were Lorenzo Ghiberti and Filippo Brunelleschi, who won the competition with his distinctive octagonal design. Construction on the dome began in 1420 and was completed in 1436; the cathedral was consecrated by Pope Eugenius IV on March 25, 1436.

It was the first ‘octagonal’ dome in history to be built without a wooden supporting frame (the Pantheon, a circular dome, was built in 118-128 AD without support structures), and was the largest dome built at the time (it is still the largest masonry dome in the world). Brunelleschi’s ability to crown the dome with a lantern was questioned and he had to undergo another competition. The lantern was begun a few months before his death in 1446 and was completed by his friend Michelozzo.

The cathedral’s facade was demolished in 1587 and left bare until the 19th century. In 1864 a competition was held to design a new facade, won by Emilio De Fabris. Work was begun in 1876 and completed in 1887. The huge bronze doors date from 1899 to 1903.

 

http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/florence-duomo

 

“THE ALLEGORY OF PATIENCE”: ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT PAINTINGS IN THE MEDICI COLLECTIONS ON SHOW AT PALAZZO PITTI IN FLORENCE (ITALY)

 VASARI

At Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy) an exhibition opened on one of the most significant paintings in the Medici collections, The Allegory of Patience, which belonged to cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici and is today held in the Sala di Prometeo in the same Palazzo Pitti. Initially attributed to Parmigianino in the inventories of Palazzo Pitti, catalogued in the museum’s first guides under the name of Francesco Salviati, and later attributed to Girolamo Siciolante by Federico Zeri, the painting is today recognised as fruit of the collaboration between Giorgio Vasari and Spanish artist Gaspar Becerra. Its complex collectors’ history involves important figures tied to the court of Cosimo I and Giorgio Vasari himself.

The first of these was Bernardetto Minerbetti,bishop of Arezzo and ambassador of Cosimo I, a refined man of letters and patron of the Renaissance philosophical and literary academy known as the Accademia Fiorentina. Shortly after 1550, he requested Vasari to execute a painting that in a new and emblematic manner would represent the principal virtue of his character, that is to say the art of Patience. Vasari accepted and proposed to his patron an invention inspired by ancient sculpture, enriched by a refined symbolic repertory alluding to time and to the life of man. The invention took the shape of a young woman chained to a rock, patiently waiting for the drops of water falling from a vase to corrode the stone and thus set her free. This scholarly and very cultured image would become quite popular far beyond the borders of Florence, soon reaching the Ferrara court of Ercole II d’Este who did not hesitate to use it in his ‘impresa’. In fact, a few years after Minerbetti’s painting, Duke Ercole II d’Este commissioned a new version of the Patience from Camillo Filippi, intended for the so-called “Camera della Pazienza” in the tower of Santa Caterina of his castle in Ferrara. The Duke also introduced the same personification on the verso of a famous medal that Pompeo Leoni coined in 1554, on the base of a bust sculpted by Prospero Sogari Spani and in a series of coins produced by the mint of Ferrara.

Anna Bisceglia curates the exhibition and the catalogue published by Sillabe to investigate these elements along the underlying themes of patronage, literary sources, and artists’ explorations against the complex and fascinating backdrop of the Italy of royal courts. Alongside the Vasari Allegory of Patience, visitors will see the same theme in an artwork that Camillo and Sebastiano Filippi executed in 1553-54 and currently in the Galleria Estense of Mantua. This version also inspired the portrayal of this virtue on the base of the bust of Ercole II sculpted by Prospero Sugari, known as Clemente (1554), and on the medals that Pompeo Leoni executed for the Duke (Florence, Bargello, 1554 ca.). Moreover, a large painting from the Galleria dell’Accademia of Venice will illustrate the complex genesis of this iconographic motif. It was part of a wooden coffered ceiling executed for the Corner family in 1542. Finally, the exhibition will also present the little painting on wood from the Uffizi, mistakenly known as Artemisia mourns Mausolus, which instead has been recognised as a Patience, and several drawings and engravings from the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe of Florence and the Cabinet des Dessins du Louvre.

P.Leoni - Duca Ercole

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Exhibition Credits

Promoters

Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali e Turismo, Direzione Regionale per i Beni Culturali e Paesaggistici della Toscana, Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico, Artistico ed Etnoantropologico e per il Polo Museale della città di Firenze, Galleria Palatina, Firenze Musei

Exhibition Venue

Galleria Palatina – Palazzo Pitti, Florence, 26 November 2013 – 5 January 2014

Exhibition curated and Catalogue edited by Anna Bisceglia

Exhibition directed by Alessandro Cecchi

Exhibition installation designed and directed by Mauro Linari

Exhibition installation produced by Opera Laboratori Fiorentini – Civita Group

Coordination, communication and public relations: Opera Laboratori Fiorentini – Civita Group

Ticket prices

Full price: € 13.00; Concessions: € 6.50 for E.U. citizens from 18 to 25 years of age. Free admission for visitors under 18 and E.U. citizens over 65 years of age. Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 8:15 am – 6:50 pm; ticket counter closes at 6:05 pm. Closed Mondays

THAT MAGICAL CRYPT IN THE TUSCANY MEDIEVAL VILLAGE WHERE THE ITALIAN LANGUAGE WAS BORN

Abbadia San Salvatore, on Amiata Mount (Siena area, Tuscany, Italy) is a place rich of art and history… 

 

In Abbadia San Salvatore, on Amiata MountSiena area, Tuscany, Italy – there is a magical and capturing place. You find it on the ancient abbey church. It is a crypt, where you may breath the history and the beauty of one of the most fascinating Tuscany village.

According the documents, the crypt was built in VIII Century. It was restored in XX Century and now we may admire it in all its beauty. Everytime I have the way to visit it, I always feel astonished by its magic. It happened again a few days ago, when I was in Abbadia SS. for the XIII edition of “Penne and Video Sconosciuti”, the national festival for school journals and videos produced by italian schools.

The Longobard crypt shows 32 columns that form 13 small aisles. They are made in various shapes; some of them are round, with different sculpured ornaments. Also the beautiful capitals are sculptured in various shapes, as palm leaves, loto flowers or animal heads.

 

The abbey and all the Medieval centreare telling us how Abbadia San Salvatore was important in the past. All its area is rich in history and traditions, that to a great extent can be found in documents in the old archive belonging to the monastery dedicated to the Saviour at Amiata Mount. The archive contains many references to the importance and power of the abbey, but little or no reference is made to the early Medieval history of the surrounding land and area, or about the people who used to live there.

The castle of Abbadia is first mentioned in a document dating to 1203, which shows that the community was came under the aegis of a communal hierarchy headed by a Podestà, under the political control of Orvieto. A few years later, the strenght and power of this communal organization are described in the “bill of freedom” (“carta delle libertà”) granted in 1212 to communal chancellors by the Abbot of the San Salvatore monastery.

The pattern of settlements in the area of Abbadia was defined around the mid-XII Century, when under the pressure of external threats, the local population, up until then scattered over the surrounding countryside, came together within one large fortified settlement.

 

This Benedectine monastery was founded by Erfo, a Longobard nobleman, in the VIII Century, under King Astolfo, and it was dedicated to the Saviour, which was typical of that people and in the tradition of christian religion. It rose on the east side of Amiata Mount in order to reclaim the surrounding woods and forests. It also overlooked the Via Francigena, running through the Paglia Valley.

The imperial abbey greatly developed in the Carolingian period thanks to Charlemagne‘s and Ludovick‘s confirmation of its landed propertues and privileges, Around the year 1000, under Abbot Winizo, it increased its power by acquiring new territories. The church and the crypt were rebuilt in 1036. In 1228 the monastery passed to the Cistercians. It was suppressed by grand-duke Pietro Leopoldo in 1782 and re-opened later.

 

In the year 1087, a certain Miciarello and his wife Gualdrada made a donation in favour of the monastery of St Saviour. Below the donation document, the notary Ranieri signed three verses, commonly known as “Cartula Amiatina” (“The Amiata Footnote”). This extemporary poem represents to linguists the first voice of vernacular coming from Tuscany. That is, the first expressions recording the evolution of the Italian language.

But this is not the only important document about Amiata History. Till XIX Century, the monastery hosted the famous “Bibbia Amiatina”“The Amiata Bible” – which is considered the oldest latin version ever known. The Amiata Bible – a real art masterpiece, written by amanuensis monks – is now kept in Florence, but we may see a photo-reproduction in the Monastery Museum.

The historical centre is a well kept fortress-village, where you may walk through incredible narrow streets and squares, all built with the local grey stone. You may admire the Servadio Theatre (1873), a tiny but fascinating place. It was built thanks to the initiative of the Carli and Gragnoli families; it is dedicated to Giacomo Servadio (XIX Century) a Florentine member of Italian Parliament, banker, musician and theatre producer. Between the end of XIX Century and the beginning of the XX, the building was the seat of a friendly Society of the workers of Abbadia, where in XIX Century quicksilver mines began their activities, now closed and presented in a museum.

By ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI

ARTISTI ITALIANI PER LA LIBERTA’ D’ESPRESSIONE / ITALIAN ARTISTS FOR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

  

Fifty Italian artists have begun a trip through the Country promoting events about freedom expression and freedom of the press. The shows – scheduled in different cities (Florence and Rome included) – are supported and promoted by the national organization of Italian journalists and by the regional council (Marche) of the same organization (Odgm). The first exhibit in Caldarola. The tour will end in May 2012. 

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C’è un filo comune che unisce artisti e giornalisti: l’ostilità, l’avversione e il rifiuto verso tutto ciò che limita la libertà di espressione. Per la verità è un bene di tutti i cittadini che artisti e giornalisti sentono più di altri perché è l’essenza stessa del loro lavoro. Ebbene partendo da questo valore è nata una collezione d’arte, unica nel suo genere, che da venerdì 9 settembre è in viaggio itinerante, con tappe  che toccheranno le cinque province marchigiane e due città simbolo dell’arte, Roma e Firenze, fino al maggio 2012.

Prima mostra a Caldarola, nella prestigiosa sede di Palazzo dei Cardinali Pallotta (fino al 2 ottobre), poi Ascoli Piceno (dal 7 al 23 ottobre), nella galleria d’arte contemporanea Osvaldo Licini. Queste le altre tappe: Fermo, Palazzo dei Priori, sala degli stemmi (dall’ 11 al 27 novembre); Ancona, Mole vanvitelliana, sala Seritery (dal 2 al 18 dicembre); Senigallia, Chiesa dei cancelli (dal 6 al 29 gennaio 2012); Pesaro, Prefettura, sala Laurana (dal 10 al 26 febbraio 2012); Firenze, Sede ancora da definire (marzo 2012) e infine Roma, Palazzo Lina Cavalieri sede Banca delle Marche (aprile 2012).

Una cinquantina gli artisti e le opere; unico il tema: la libertà di espressione. E’ in pericolo o è in discussione questo diritto? Senza pensarci molto dovremmo rispondere di no. Con tutte le affermazioni di principio, partendo dalla Costituzione, dovremmo sentirci ampiamente garantiti e tutelati. Invece non è così. Non lo è per i giornalisti ai quali si vorrebbero imporre “bavagli” in nome e per conto di altre presunte libertà. Non lo è neppure per gli artisti che spesso subiscono condizionamenti o sono costretti a scelte non volute con armi e arti ben più subdole e sottili.

Perché proporre una riflessione su questo tema attraverso l’arte? Perché gli artisti, come i giornalisti, interpretano gli umori, le aspettative, le speranze e i sogni della gente. E gli artisti, più dei giornalisti, ne rappresentano i sentimenti e li esprimono senza i vincoli dell’obiettività ai quali sono tenuti gli operatori dell’informazione.

Partendo da questi sentimenti e valori comuni (cioè la libertà di poter esprimere qualsiasi concetto, sentimento, intuizione, idea ed emozione) è nata l’idea di questa collezione. Una chiacchierata fra amici, uno scambio di opinioni sul peso sempre più opprimente della politica e dei poteri in genere, sul giornalismo come sull’arte. In pochi mesi è stata creata una collezione particolarissima e unica; un piccolo patrimonio di creatività ed espressività che è esposto in maniera permanente nella Sede dell’Ordine dei giornalisti delle Marche, nel Centro di Ancona.

Ma un messaggio così significativo e forte non poteva restare circoscritto nelle mura di una sede istituzionale. Ecco l’idea della mostra itinerante realizzata in collaborazione con il Consiglio nazionale dell’Ordine, Banca Marche e una serie di Enti e Fondazioni. Qui a Caldarola la spinta determinante è arrivata dalla Comunità montana dei Monti Azzurri e dal suo Presidente Giampiero Feliciotti.

Gli artisti che hanno accolto l’invito dell’Ordine dei giornalisti rappresentano stili e tendenze diverse; si esprimono con tecniche tradizionali o innovative e si distinguono per i valori formali. Il tema (la libertà) favorisce l’approccio fra chi lancia il messaggio (l’artista) e il fruitore (lo spettatore). Giornalisti e artisti con questa mostra non propongono ricette o soluzioni, ma invitano a ragionare e riflettere, a recuperare il senso della partecipazione collettiva alla vita pubblica.

 

Artisti invitati:

Mario Agostinelli-Vittorio Amadio- Renzo Barbarossa- Ezio Bartocci- Sirio Bellucci -Guelfo Bianchini-Mauro Brattini-Patrizia Calovini- Gaetano Carboni – Carlo Cecchi -Sauro Ciuffolotti-Luciano Collamati-Silvio Craia -Isabella Crucianelli-Giovanni Di Francesco-Anna Donati -Maria Cristina Fioretti-Ferdinando Franguelli-Giuliano Garattoni-Melita Gianandrea-Andrea Granchi – Carlo Iacomucci – Floriano Ippoliti – Cristina Kanaan – Giannetto Magrini – Bruno Mangiaterra – Marisa Marconi-Alessandro Marcucci Pinoli-Franco Morresi-Leonardo Nobili – Corrado Olmi- Luigi Pennacchietti- Riccardo Piccardoni – Annalisa Piergallini-Nazareno Rocchetti-Mario Sasso -Luca Sguanci- Stefano Tonti – Franco Torcianti – Josè Van Roy Dalì -Luca Zampetti-Franco Zingaretti .

 

Nell’immagine: IL VOLO DEL PENSIERO, dell’artista CARLO IACOMUCCI