|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.
I commenced with reading as much primary and secondary sources as available in the library of the NIKI (Dutch University Institute for Art History) and the Max Planck Institute. After about three weeks, I started to gather together all the artworks I had caught sight of, and proceeded to make record of them in the digital database of the PPP. One of the most interesting and impressive commissions was Palazzo Gondi. After its commission by the Gondi family, this Florentine palace was designed by Giuliano da Sangallo (1443-1516) around 1500. It has survived the sands of time as it still adorns the street view of Florence today. Moreover, I found out the Gondi family currently still lives there.
Accordingly, in February I phoned the Marchesa to ask her if I could visit her palace, as it is not open to the public. She immediately granted my wish and invited me to pay a visit. I was received by the doorman in the magnificent cortile, after which the Marchesa took me upstairs to show me the grand caminetto, the fire place, designed by Sangallo. We spoke about her ancestors, the current position of the Gondi family, and the palazzo.
Giuliano da Sangallo's caminetto
In March, I finished the records and started working on my final paper for the internship. The paper is titled Non Sine Labore: Cultural Endeavours of the Gondi Family in Cinquecento Florence. In the first chapter, I aimed at sketching a social and political context on the ‘rise’ of the Gondi family and the Medici family in the fifteenth century. The second chapter revolves around the building projects – among these Palazzo Gondi – of Giuliano Gondi (1421-1501), an important patrician in the second half of the fifteenth century. The final chapter discusses two members of the Gondi family and their role as art collectors in the Cinquecento; Bartolomeo Gondi (1492-1577) and Benedetto Gondi (1539-1616).
As the paper emphasizes, the Gondi family invested themselves in acquiring works of art by artists that mattered – such as Giambologna (1529-1608) – as to uphold and confirm their powerful position. This was made possible by their commercial skills, that gained them a strong financial and political position in Florence.
Altogether, this internship proved fruitful for adding knowledge to this field of study. Due to the specific topic and fresh approach, the internship contributed to my research skills and caused new insights. Also, I met many new people, and got to work in the inspiring environment of Florence and the NIKI. Consequently, I would highly recommend doing this internship, for it provides you with a unique opportunity to go abroad and work on your research skills.
You can find out more about the cultural endeavours of the Gondi as sketched above in my paper, following this link.
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