Unforgettable places and special works of art

A hidden jewel

Jane Fortune
October 5, 2006

Ilove any work by Jacopo Pontormo, a tortured soul who produced amazing Manneristic colors in his works. Doris Kryst describes Man-nerism as ‘an emotional accentuation of movement and expressions of the body, eccentric composition of space with distorted perspective, anatomical exaggeration, restless variation of light and artificial color.’ Artists of this period, which stretched between the High Renais-sance and the Baroque period, rejected Renaissance balance and harmony, creating works which portrayed the social, religious and scien-tific upheaval of that time. Pontormo (1494-1556), was apprenticed to Andrea del Sarto, and was highly influenced by Fra’ Bartolomeo during his early years, and by Michelangelo later in life.

Just across the Ponte Vecchio, you can find one of the oldest churches in Florence, Santa Felicità. It connects with the overhead corri-dor created by Vasari, which bridges Palazzo Vecchio with the Palazzo Pitti, and contains Pontormo’s Deposition of Christ (1526-28) in the Cappella Capponi. This piece is the singular masterpiece of Florentine Mannerism.Pontormo prevented all access to the chapel during the entire painting process, because his work was such a departure from the style of that time. You can locate his bearded self-portrait in the middle of the right side. Pontormo’s elongated Modigliani-like characters, unnatural light, floating figures and brilliant contrast of intense colors are simply magnificent. His hauntingly beautiful Annunciation, located on the side wall, separates Mary and the Angel by a window.

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