Sacred Art Itinerary Program
Academic year 2019/20
Visit to the churches of Santa Maria Maggiore, SS. Apostoli and Orsanmichele
The visit retraced the history of three of the oldest churches in Florence, highlighting some particularly significant and representative artistic evidence of religious sensitivity from different eras: from the image of the oldest Madonna in Majesty of the city kept in Santa Maria Maggiore, dating from the twelfth century, the church of SS. Apostoli, an important example of Florentine Romanesque architecture, to the Orsanmichele complex, which perfectly embodies the double soul of Florentine society in the Middle Ages (economy and religious sense inseparably united), through the pictorial and sculptural cycles that exalt the patron saints of the Corporations of Arts and Crafts.
Visit to the churches of the Holy Trinity and All Saints
The visit to the two churches, founded in the Middle Ages by important monastic orders, focused in particular on fundamental testimonies of the Florentine Renaissance, such as the Sassetti Chapel in Santa Trinita, and the Last Supper of All Saints, both frescoed by Domenico Ghirlandaio in the eighties of the fifteenth century and representative of the centrality of man, the protagonist of history. Giotto’s Painted Cross in Ognissanti highlighted the beginning of the process of humanisation of the sacred in figurative art, which opened the way to Brunelleschi’s revolution in the early fifteenth century.
Visit to the Basilica and the Museum of the Opera di Santa Maria Novella.
The visit highlights the importance from the historical, religious and social point of view of the convent complex of Dominican friars in the urban fabric of medieval Florence. The artistic testimonies preserved in the basilica were analyzed, starting from the fundamental figurative text of Giotto’s Youth Cross, to the equally important works of Masaccio (the Trinity), Brunelleschi (the Sculpted Cross), Ghirlandaio (frescoes in the Tornabuoni Chapel), Filippino Lippi (frescoes in the Strozzi Chapel), without neglecting the marble façade, the capital text of the Florentine Renaissance in architecture designed by Leon Battista Alberti and highly representative of the new centrality of the “divine” man.
Ample space has also been given to the Cappellone degli Spagnoli, whose cycle of frescoes by Andrea di Buonaiuto represents in images the theological summa of the Dominican order.
Visit to the Medici Chapels and the Basilica of San Lorenzo
The visit will retrace the origin of the spread of Christianity in the Roman colony of Florentia with the consecration of the ancient basilica by St. Ambrose of Milan in 393 AD, dwelling on the reconstruction work carried out by Brunelleschi from 1419 at the behest of the Medici family, works that led to the birth of the first church of the Renaissance, designed according to a rational project that recovers classical art as a model of reference. The Old Sacristy, the incunabulum of Brunelleschi’s architecture, and the New Sacristy, the work of Michelangelo, were the subject of a precise comparison that highlighted the profound structural and symbolic differences. Finally, the visit to the Chapel of the Princes showed the splendor of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, who in their mausoleum wanted to evoke the octagonal shape of the Baptistery, bearer of deep symbolic and theological meanings.
Visit to the Convent of San Marco and the Last Supper of Santa Apollonia
The visit highlights the figure of Blessed Angelico and his ability to decline the Renaissance in a Christian key. The Last Supper of St. Apollonia, a masterpiece by Andrea del Castagno, in turn is the prototype and essential point of the Florentine cenacles of the fifteenth century, up to Leonardo.
Visit to the churches of Santa Felicita and Santo Spirito.
The itinerary involves the Church of Santa Felicita, in which the Capponi Chapel houses one of the highest testimonies of the first Florentine Mannerism, the Deposition of Pontormo, which in a revolutionary language, highly symbolic and transfiguring, strongly reaffirms the real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist (central theme in the Catholic Church of the early sixteenth century).
The Church of Santo Spirito has been presented as a Brunelleschi factory of extreme importance for the sacred architecture of the early Renaissance and guardian of precious artistic testimonies such as the Youth Cross by Michelangelo, the altarpiece de’Nerli by Filippino Lippi and other important altarpieces of the fifteenth century, still preserved on site.