Since 1478, Andrea della Robbia’s 10 maiolica putti in swaddling clothes have lined the façade of the Ospedale degli Innocenti’s loggia in piazza Santissima Annunziata designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. The putti advertise the work of the charity, which was to care for abandoned children, and seem to guard the young souls within.
At the moment, however, the putti are in the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, getting some long-overdue “love”: each was detached from the façade for restoration.
With the help of Unicoop Firenze, the Innocenti is calling on the public to support the restoration of the putti, along with other artworks through its Adopt a Work of Art program recently announced on the institution’s website (view the putti and the full list here).
The restoration of the putti, which is costing 20,000 euro each, is part of a 12 million euro renovation project that will result in a new museum documenting the history of childhood and of the Ospedale degli Innocenti, the first known charity dedicated entirely to the care of abandoned children, set to open on June 23, 2016. Along with spreading the word and collecting donations, Unicoop is offering special visits to the works being restored.
This article was updated on March 13, 2016.