Three sides of the Piazza della Santissima Annnunziata in Florence are arcaded. The original Brunelleschi scheme for the Ospedale degli Innocenti (described in my previous post) was continued on the opposite side by Sangallo the elder and completed in front of the façade of Florence’s holiest shrine, the basilica della Santissima Annnunziata, by Caccini at the end of the sixteenth century.
It’s what’s directly behind this façade that is the subject of an ongoing restoration of the frescoes that line the chiostro dei voti – the cloister of votive offerings given by the faithful for thanks to the Divine for graces, blessings and miracles received. This cloister, designed by Michelozzo and begun in 1497, was so long in a state of increasingly gloomy dilapidation that it was hardly looked at by visitors before they plunged into the ornate glories of the basilica itself with the shrine to the miraculous image of the Annunciation of the Virgin.
Yet it’s this cloister – an atrium really – that represents the greatest examples of late renaissance and mannerist fresco painting in Florence.
Here is a scheme of the paintings and their artists going from left to right in this cloister. On our recent visit I took pictures after or during the on-going restoration of this magnificent cycle of frescoes which should soon rank again as one of the glories of Firenze, restored as far as possible to their pristine condition.
|No.||Image before restoration
(Click on icon to see image)
|Image after or during restoration
(Click on image to see larger view)
|01||Cosimo Rosselli||Life of Filippo Benizi||Vocation of St Flippo’s life||1476|
|02||Andrea del Sarto||Life of Filippo Benizi||St Flippo heals a leper||1509-1510|
|03||Andrea del Sarto||Life of Filippo Benizi||Punishment of the blasphemers||1510|
|04||Andrea del Sarto||Life of Filippo Benizi||Liberation of a person from the devil||1509-1510|
|05||Andrea del Sarto||Life of Filippo Benizi||Death of Saint Filippi Benizi and resurrection of a child||1510|
|06||Andrea del Sarto||Life of Filippo Benizi||Devotion of Florentines to San Filippo’s relics||1510|
|07||Andrea del Sarto||Life of Virgin Mary||Birth of the Virgin||1513-1514|
|08||Alesso Baldovinetti||Life of Virgin Mary||Worship of the shepherds||1463|
|09||Andrea del Sarto||Life of Virgin Mary||Journey of the Magi||1511|
|10||Franciabigio||Life of Virgin Mary||The Virgin’s Wedding||1513|
|11||Pontormo||Life of Virgin Mary||The visitation||1514-1516|
|12||Rosso Fiorentino||Life of Virgin Mary||Assumption of the Virgin||1517|