Excrescence: Is it a Tree or an Elephant

For Ragtag’s Friday Prompt: Excrescence

From A Distance

For Becky’s November Squares: Walking: The Chianti Hills, Tuscany, Italy.

Florentine Street Art, Whatever That Means

When I was in Florence three years ago, I did a post about street art depicting women. Much of that random art has disappeared so I have expanded to street art in general, in all its iterations

Always Look Up: The Heights of Santa Croce

This may seem like a strange image in a post about looking up. But it tells a story, a story of the 1966 flood that devastated Florence, destroying or damaging millions of books and manuscripts and countless works of art.

Look up to the highest label on the wall. That is the high water mark, about 22 ft., on November 4, 1966. Lower sections of buildings and damaged art works are still undergoing restoration.

The frescoes in the chancel above the high altar and its vaulte dome are beautiful.

The Baroncelli Chapel, by Taddeo Gaddi, shows scenes from the life of Mary. The three following photos show details from the frescoes.

Transept and side chapels have ceiling frescoes depicting the lives of the saints and the four evangelists.

The central dome of the Pazzi Chapel and its chancel dome. Designed by Brunelleschi but not finished until after his death, (1443-1478), the chapel is one of the earliest Florentine Renaissance structures.

The giant crucifix wooden by Cimabue (c. 1265) was heavily damaged in the flood. Over 60 percent of the paint was lost. Even after extensive restoration, damage is still visible. It is considered one of greatest losses from the flood. It now hangs high in the sacristy.

The Renaissance arches of the second cloister.

Basilica of Santa Croce: The Facade with Clouds

Construction of the Basilica began in 1294. It is the 3rd largest church in the world.

The ornate polychrome marble facade, like that of Florence’s more famous Duomo, was actually added in the 19th century.

Prior to the new facade, the front of the Basilica would have looked like the adjacent cloister and tower. The rest of the building remains the reddish limestone. The Duomo, on the other hand, was totally sheathed in marble.

The Italian architect Niccolo Matas from Ancona designed the Neo-Gothic facade between 1857-1863.

Because Matas was Jewish, he could not be buried in Santa Croce. The Basilica is the burial place of many prominent Italian artists, writers, and thinkers and is called the Temple of Italian Glories. After Matas’ death, his body was moved and reburied under the porch of the Basilica.

But Matas left his mark on Santa Croce. He worked a prominent Star of David into the design. While both Jewish and Christian symbol, it’s prominence is meaningful

He is buried beneath his star, just outside the center door.

Le Donne di Firenze #1: Mary Magdalena

Mary Magdalene the Penitent, wood, Donatello, 1453-1455.

Carved of white poplar in 1453-1455, the statue was originally at least partly polychrome and gilded. Its realism was startling.

Probably carved for the baptistry in Florence, it is now in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.

Apparently, medieval iconography of Mary Magdalene mixed her with that of other Mary’s, including St. Mary of Egypt, who spent 30 years in the desert. This may have influenced Donatello’s work.

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