|Fig. 1 Villa Torre a Cona|
Tuesday, 29 August 2017
Tuesday, 11 July 2017
It was a beautiful spring day when I walked down the Via di San Leonardo to the city centre of Florence. On my way I enjoyed the blooming wisteria and the sounds of birds, and I imagined that people could have enjoyed this same route centuries ago. Nowadays, the presence of rushing cars and scooters passing by every now and then clearly makes a difference. Even though you might think the cityscape of Florence has remained the same for the past centuries, in fact some of it has changed. The same is true for the place that I was headed to that day, namely the Villa Gualfonda.
|Rear side of Villa Gualfonda, Florence|
Thursday, 18 May 2017
|Gondi coat of arms |
(source: http://www.gondi.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/ storia_00.jpg)
From January until March 2016, I stayed at the Dutch Institute in Florence to conduct research for the Patrician Patronage Project (PPP). Allocated to me were the Gondi: as it turned out a rather significant Florentine family that gendered several important patrons for the arts in the sixteenth century. After indicating and registering the works of art they owned and commissioned, I decided to investigate how this family’s commissions and collections evidenced their position within the contemporary political and cultural climate. An elaboration can be found in the form of a paper, posted on this website.
Thursday, 2 March 2017
In the Via dei Servi, leading from Brunelleschi’s Duomo to the more modest but equally impressive Piazza Santissima Annunziata, appears the monumental edifice that once belonged to the prosperous Niccolini family. Palazzo Niccolini housed the sumptuous art collection of one of the family’s foremost art patrons: Giovanni Niccolini (1544-1611). He was the son of Agnolo Niccolini (1502-1567), a successful ambassador of Cosimo I de’ Medici. In the last years of his life, Agnolo even reached the status of cardinal. Giovanni followed in his father’s footsteps as loyal servant of the Medici court. In 1570, Niccolini became part of grand duke Cosimo’s entourage when the latter received the Grand Ducal crown and from 1578 until 1610, Giovanni resided in Rome as Florentine ambassador to the Papal court. His Roman sojourn influenced Niccolini’s art patronage, since he acquired many antiquities to adorn his Florentine palace. Over time, this splendorous collection became dispersed and it is now lost without any trace. Fortunately, the Cappella Niccolini remains intact and gives an idea of Niccolini’s rich art patronage. Giovanantonio Dosio (1533-1610) designed the family chapel in the Franciscan church of Santa Croce and decorated the walls with many coloured marble slabs of archaeological provenance, acquired on the Roman art market.
Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Villa Salviati near Ponte alla Badia
If we wonder off north, into the hills of Florence, and follow the Via Bolognese, the world around us slowly changes. The red and yellow colours of the Florentine palazzi, and the busy noisy streets, are slowly being replaced by small roads with walls surrounding lush gardens, tall trees peeking over enclosures, and soft rolling hills. After a little while, the high roof of a large building shows up on our left-hand side. Walking through the gate, a villa comes into full view. Built in the fourteenth century as a small castle, and made into a countryside villa by the patrician Alamanno Salviati in 1445, the building now houses the Historical Archives of the European Union. It was recently renovated, and beautifully restored to its former sixteenth-century glory.
Saturday, 14 January 2017
After Agostino del Nero had bought Roberto Nasi’s unfinished new palazzo in 1552, he hired Domenico di Baccio d’Agnolo, Baccio’s most talented son, to finish the job. In the second edition of his Le Vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori ed architettori (1568), Giorgio Vasari wrote that for Agostino, Domenico had made on the Piazza de’Mozzi ‘the corner parts and a beautiful terrace to those houses of the Nasi that his father Baccio had already started to build’ (‘[…] in sulla piazza de’ Mozzi le cantonate, ed un bellissimo terrazzo a quelle case de’ Nasi già cominciate da Baccio suo Padre’). However, Domenico cannot have accomplished much, because he already died a year after Agostino had hired him. In documents on Palazzo del Nero, Valentina Catalucci recently found that Agostino had Davide Fortini, an architect who did important engineering projects for the Medici, work on the palazzo.* I gather that Fortini succeeded Domenico as architect of the palazzo and that what Vasari described was all his doing. Leonardo Ginori Lisci, author of the standard work on Florentine palazzi**, recognized the building as described by Vasari, in a print with the Del Nero genealogical tree from 1590. (fig. 1)