An exhibition has just opened at Palazzo Medici Riccardi that focuses on Renaissance artist Benozzo Gozzoli. Benozzo di Lese, as he was also known, frescoed the palazzo’s Magi Chapel in the late 1450s based on a commission by the Medici family.
The show, which will run until March 10, 2022, sheds light on the artist’s ties with the Medici family and Florence, where the painter embarked on his career. A blend of original works and multimedia creations explores the artist’s life while taking a wider look at art throughout Tuscany.
The Florence land registry mentions Benozzo Gozzoli’s age and where he lived in the Oltrarno, near Santa Maria del Carmine. The earliest document in which he stated his profession as a “pictor”, pittore, was a 1444 contract, which saw him assist Ghiberti in making the east doors of the Baptistery for three years. The artist’s connection to the Medici probably came around while he was working with Beato Angelico at the Monastery of San Marco before he started work on the Magi Chapel in 1459.
The exhibition features artworks such as Madonna del Baldacchino with Angels (on loan from the National Gallery in London), the Mystical Marriage of Santa Caterina, Pietà with St. John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene, Sant’Antonio Abate e Sant’Egidio (Museum of San Marco, Florence) and the Pala della Sapienza Nuova (Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria, in Perugia). Several sketches by the artist and his workshop relating to his time in Florence or the chapel’s iconography are displayed alongside the paintings, including loans from the Accademia Gallery in Venice and Musée du Louvre in Paris.
“The Magi Chapel is a jewel set within the noble walls of Palazzo Medici Riccardi,” comments Letizia Perini, culture councillor for the Metropolitan City of Florence. “Honouring the memory of Benozzo Gozzoli who celebrated, even symbolically, the greatness of the Medici in the context of the Council of Florence, is to retrace a journey of beauty and history of which we are custodians and promoters.”