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July 2: Florence III August 3, 2010

Posted by msmith78 in Uncategorized.

Santa Maria Novella

The first religious order of priests was the Benedictine order founded in the 6th century, and it was a cloistered order focused on the removal from temptations. In the 13th century, the Mendicant Orders emerge and the priests are able to come into contact with the outside world. The Franciscans and Dominicans were two of these orders. This is the Dominican church for Florence. The church was begun in 1221, and construction started in 1246 by Friar Campi and Friar Florentine. It is in the form of a Latin cross with the aisles measured as a, 2a, and a. The bays between the piers shrink along the length of the chapel to make the church appear longer. Alberti completed the exterior of the church in 1456.  The lower level of the façade was completed at the time of the construction of the church with pointed arches; therefore when Alberti made the façade it had to fit the irregular church behind it as well as the Gothic features, two very non-Renaissance characteristics. The sails in the design of the façade are full of wind and the symbol of good fortune attributed to the Oricellari family. The Ruchoine family who were bankers commissioned the church; the bankers sponsored these types of projects to remain in good standing with the church because interest was not yet an accepted practice for the church. It was also seen as uncivilized to show off your wealth in Florence, but embellishing churches was always acceptable. Galileo’s first ideas were delivered here. The pulpit was designed by Brunelleschi. There are many black  dogs in the decoration because the Dominicans were called the black hounds as the defenders of theology.

Holy Trinity by Masaccio

This was created in 1423, and the proper perspective vantage point is from just inside the door on the opposite side of the church. The perspective makes in a mock chapel of a funerary monument. God the Father is represented with a dove collar that is converging at Christ’s body. Strings were used to mark the lines for perspectives on frescos. Frescos use wet plaster and tempura, and once the plaster is dried that must be finished. Michelangelo would sketch his pieces with the end of his paint brush when he first started, and by the time he had mastered the skill he did not sketch on the surface.

Main Chapel

This was commissioned by the Tornabuoni family, and there are many portraits throughout the piece. This piece was completed by Domenico Ghirlandaio, the master of Michelangelo who probably helped to complete it. The master painter was usually on required to paint the noble parts such as the hands, head, and feet. The bare feet in the pictures denote that it is taking place in ancient times, but the clothes worn are the best clothes of the times.

Filippo Strozzi Chapel

The wooden cross is attributed to Brunelleschi.

Palazzo Rusche

This is the original façade which is very grid like and repeatable. The original five bays from the corner were designed by Alberti, but the pattern was continued on the addition to the building. The windows are not truly classical because they are not a single window with a pediment on top, but rather two windows.

Basilica of San Lorenzo

Brunelleschi was commissioned for the dome of this church. It was a public church that the Medici’s commissioned and had attached to their palace. It has the typical Brunelleschian column baring arch. The entablature has direct contact with the columns which is not Classical; another non-Classical element is the connection of the pilaster with the arch which is very Gothic in nature.

Medici Palace

Michelangelo added windows to the space. He was commissioned for this work right after he fought in a war against the Medicis.


Here again today we saw the principle of the second man, but this time Alberti had to design a façade to fit the original church. He had to assume the parts of the structure that were not of his taste and style in order to create this façade. He still was able to incorporate his own touches as well. Alberti was placed into difficult situations involving the principle of the second man for most of his works, and I think that is why he was deemed a good theorist and not a good architect because he was never able to create his own wholly classical and Renaissance design. He had to make amends due to what he had. Today we also saw the continuation of the practice of family glorification through chapel dedications, but this time with the main alter which is something I have not before experienced. Santa Maria del Popolo’s choir behind the main alter was dedicated to a family, but this time the space directly associated with the alter belongs to a family. Again you can see the roots of the problems that led to the reform of Savanna Rolla  and later Martin Luther.



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