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July 6: Florence/Venice August 3, 2010

Posted by msmith78 in Uncategorized.

Pitti Palace

The original structure dates from 1458. The façade is attribute to Brunelleschi, but it was more likely one of his students. It first belonged to Luco Pitti who was a famous Florentine banker, but then it was a assumed by the Medicis and finally the king of Italy. Upon becoming property of the state, it became the largest museum complex in Italy. Amanatti took over the desing in 1553. Niccolo Tribolo installed the first irrigation system. Three important types of garden are the French(18th century , represent nature as manicured), the English(represent nature as wild, 17th century), and the Italian Renaissance garden(creates blocked perspectives, 16th century). These gardens for a time were a public park and are now under the control of the museum. The courtyard of the palace is a masterpiece of Amanatti. The columns progress form Doric, to Ionic, to Corinthian up the three levels with rustification used to decorate and create the transition of the floors as well. The amphitheater is in the shape of a circus complete with an obelisk.

Medici Library

This was the first public library. Michelangelo was the designer, but he left to go to Rome in 1535 so it is unsure how much was completed when he left. The dome addition was added later, and it is in the Neoclassical style. Michelangelo provided a wooden model of the stairs for the builders to follow with Amanatti left in charge. Michelangelo always had conflicts of interest. When he was working for the pope, he became a Protestant, and he worked for the Medici’s before and after the war he fought against them. The stairwell and main library are both Michelangelo’s design, and they create a feeling of unease in both with the stairwell room being too high, ad the book room being too long. He also has fun with and manipulates the classical features such with bowing curls in the weight supporting areas and drama.


Venice is nestled in a lagoon created by a chain of islands in the Agean Sea. During the Middle Ages with the threat of barbarians and lootings on shore, people took refuge on island. The eight-century brought the election of the representative Doge; the city also applied to be chartered by the Eastern Empire. The flourished in with success in trading as the link to the East; evening during war trade was maintained. In the 13th century, Venice sponsored the Fourth Crusade, and held Constantinople for 60 years and gained safe ports. In the 1290s, the prior tradition of free citizenship was halted and the Golden Book with its list of 1000 families was the new code of citizenship. This new government was called a seignior. People eventually found ways to buy into the book. Venice was no longer a model of social mobility. Plague hit in the mid 14th century devastating Venice, and the founding of the new world and the shift the world of trade left Venice debilitated. The island was more or less disserted until it was rediscovered in the early 1800s with the influence of Napoleon on the area, and then revived with the foundation of the Italian government in 1866 as a model of Italian greatness. John Ruskin’s study of the area then made it a huge tourist destination.


It is interesting to me that the unfinished look of rustification became so popular in Renaissance art when that effect on stone for the Classical mind would have been that the pieces was incomplete. The Greeks and the Romans both smoothed their stone faces once they were in place, but their emulators the artists of the Renaissance assumed that look as part of the decoration. To me it makes me believe this rustification was one of the earliest forms of Mannerism. It was a way of manipulating the Classical. Then Michelangelo took those ideas of manipulation and respect for the Classical and made creations like the stairwell we saw today. No classical aspect was untouched by the influence of Michelangelo.



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