Back in my Florence thread I mentioned that I didn't want to endure the lines and crowds involved in visiting the Duomo. But I read that Santa Maria Novella was even more worth seeing and decided to believe that. I was rewarded by encountering no line the day I went and finding few other people inside. The church does indeed deliver, in fact is more than just a church, as you will see. Before starting with the onslaught of photos, I will point out that I just barely touched upon the glories in the church and its cloisters. Truly, there is simply too much to take in. Here is the church's site, for in-depth information.
Santa Maria Novella broke ground around 1246 and was finished around 1360. The church was consecrated in 1420. source
Let's start with my walk there, here showing Piazza Santa Trinita with its statue of Justice atop a Roman column.
The church of Santa Trinita ~
Here we are at The Loggia del Mercato Nuovo, built around the middle of the 16th century. Today it's a tourist magnet selling leather goods and souvenirs. On one side can be seen the statue of Porcellino, which attracts even more tourists.
The church is beautifully placed to be admired with an unobstructed view ~
The interior is vast ~
What I have learned from my two weeks in Italy is that over the centuries, sculptors here have seized on any opportunity to incorporate delicate drapery across breasts in their creations ~
Of all the images found in the religious paintings of Christianity, my favorites have always been the Annunciation scenes, particularly those of the early Renaissance. Imagine my pleasure on seeing these beautiful examples ~
Good that some churches can remain visitable without lines and tons of people inside. I wonder what makes some places so busy and others, that are just as worthy, relatively unknown. It must be the "famous for being famous" aspect of contemporary life. I like those Annunciation scenes too.
The hog sculpture though is one of those inexplicable attractions, like the Manniken Pis in Brussels.
That patchwork restoration gives the last one a cubist aspect.
Ha ~ I hadn't noticed that. What I wonder about a painting like that is whether the artist would have chosen to use the gold touches if left to his own devices. Undoubtedly the painting was commissioned and of course the gold makes it show up better in a church, but I can't help but think that it's an example of lily-gilding.
Good that some churches can remain visitable without lines and tons of people inside.
Honestly, I am rather dreading the Vatican, which will come at the end of my trip. I can't imagine not going to see it, but reading about the crowded experience on various travel sites is disheartening. The sentence, "We had a guide, so were taken directly to the highlights" just makes me feel glum.
One just has to marvel at the workmanship and dedication shown by the artists of those days.
Oh Mossie, that is why I love those 13th, 14th and early 15th century periods so much. It seems the artists were truly inspired by the subject matter, with a pure desire to impart that vision apart from the technicality of producing the painting. In the earlier Annunciations, the angel always seems to be in another room, even in a room -- as in the second example above -- that the Virgin cannot see. Contrast that with the first example, where the bottom half indeed rather purely depicts the miraculous message, whereas the top half is filled with overly ornamental angel children and that look-how-well-I-do-drapery bit on the left. The dove/Holy Ghost even seems an unnecessary afterthought.
As I said earlier, the many pictures I'm showing barely begin to cover what is in this magnificent church and its cloisters and auxiliary rooms. Let's finish up what I have on the "middle part" of the main church before moving on to other glories ~
Post by cheerypeabrain on May 16, 2019 10:26:17 GMT
I really love the beautiful paintings with gold leaf, Thank you Bixa...I rarely visit churches but they do often have the most exquisite works of art in them, the power of the church is reflected in the rich ornamentation of the work. The respect and awe of the population helping to preserve it all I suppose.
Once again I am struck at how different architecture can be in two neighbouring countries. Santa Maria Novella is spectactularly different from anything that I have seen in any other European country and yet the same architects and artists constantly moved back and forth between Italy and France, just to mention those two countries. Presidents Macron and Mattarella were just in Amboise and Chambord together for the 500th anniversary of Michelangelo's death. He died in Amboise but was buried in Florence, so you would think that there would be more similarities between the two countries.
I imagine that Italy's access to spectacular white marble has something to do with that, but that's just a detail. In any case, the church is phenomenal, and I find a sort of Tardis effect -- "bigger on the inside." I have to admit, though, that Italian Renaissance art definitely overdid the golden halo effect on all of the saints.
Thank you, Cheery! There are so many churches here that I hesitate before going into one, since there is high danger of ecclesiastical fatigue, as you can readily imagine just from looking at this thread. And I hasten to assure you that I have discarded scads of photos from this church, just because there is too much to take in.
Kerouac, I didn't know that Michelangelo died in France. "Tardis effect" is a perfect description. I could not believe how huge the place is inside compared to how it seems on the outside. You can see how that halo thing could get out of hand. Ooo ~ access to gilding on one hand, and considerations such as giving some minor saint a really nice halo, then having to go back to enlarge and enhance a heavyweight's halo.
Slogging on with yet more, here is another side chapel. This one features heaven and hell ~
Note that this picture is heavily edited to bring out detail. The fresco yet awaits restoration ~
This is part of what is underneath this particular side chapel ~
Everywhere you turn, there is another painting, statue, frieze, etc. ~
And more waiting to be restored. The two leaning panels are frescoes recovered from an earlier restoration project ~
This post will finish off what I have on Santa Maria Novella.
Here we are at the Grand Cloister:
The Grand Cloister of Santa Maria Novella is called that precisely because it is quite large, with 56 arcades surrounding the internal courtyard corridor. ... Built between 1340 and 1360 [it] hosted along three of its four sides dormitories for the friars living here. Two centuries later, two noble Florentine families and the Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici financed the decorations of all of the walls with frescoes of the life of St. Domenic and other Dominican saints, scenes from the life of Christ (at the corners) and portraits of important members of the Santa Maria Novella community (on the pilars). The fresco cycle was largely painted within 1570 and 1590 by over 15 various artists from the Accademia ...source
One of the pillar portraits ~
Into the museum, which has some striking and lovely things. However, by this time I was all arted out ~
On one wall ~
And directly beneath it ~
Adam and Eve being driven from Paradise and the aftermath ~
What led to the event pictured above. Look who is getting blamed, as always ~
Out a side door and we're back in the 21st century ~
Impressive! I'm ashamed to admit I probably got a better look at SMN in this report than I did actually being there. We were in a hurry, and my parents had seen it and wanted to go get lunch. I'll be back in Florence soon, I should probably see it again.
The light blue devil with the mohawk is pure punk.
No shame, Fumobici! I fight down being embarrassed about not always going to a major art museum when I have the chance, especially since it might be a once-in-a-lifetime chance. But what can you do when the chance comes along and you're just not in the right mood/frame of mind/feeling stingy/whatever to want to take advantage? And really, really taking in one place can take out the oomph you might have to take in another even more worthy one. It bothers me that blue devil doesn't have the nice spike earring he needs!
LaGatta, you perfectly touched on extremes of sentiment and depiction that accumulate in a place that old.
It is amazing, Bjd, although I think I read somewhere that there has been extensive repainting over the years. I was surprised and charmed by Ursula and one of her virgins.
Post by cheerypeabrain on May 26, 2019 8:07:23 GMT
The outside murals are amazing! even if they've been worked on the restoration has been done very symathetically. I expect the climate helps preserve them too but they really are astonishing. I know nothing about the 11,000 virgins of Cologne or St Ursula. I shall Google.