ART + CULTURE

Art and culture from Florence, Italy, focusing on exhibitions, museums, artisans and more.

ART + CULTURE

Monkey business

Renaissance Tuscany was notorious for its practical jokes and ‘robust’ physical humour. Examples of complicated deceptions designed to confuse, embarrass or bring someone down a notch or two can be found in the tales of Boccaccio, Vasari’s Lives of the Artists and, of course, in the

ART + CULTURE

Pasquale Rotondi

His name is not a household word, not even in Italy, but it should be. Nor was his extraordinary story told until fairly recently. But, starting in 1940, for a period of five years, three months and eight days, a young, public servant, Pasquale Rotondi, a superintendent of the Artistic

ART + CULTURE

No respect

One of the delights of dipping into the Medici Archives is discovering that our ancestors could be just as irreverent, cynical, critical and downright mean as any twenty-first-century commentator. Two fine examples of scorn, lack of empathy, and disrespect for high office can be read in reports to

ART + CULTURE

Inspired genius

‘Some of Michelangelo’s friends wrote from Florence to tell him to return, since it was not beyond the realm of possibility that he might be given the block of spoiled ...

ART + CULTURE

Early Italian chick lit

The women are beautiful. Sometimes they are of humble origin, sometimes they are aristocrats but they are always striking. The men are handsome and dashing, often airmen or navy officers, but almost always attractive and debonair. And they are in love. Sometimes it is innocent and naïve, other

ART + CULTURE

From granary to grandeur

Close to the palace and piazza of the Priors [] is an Oratory of extraordinary beauty, worked entirely in dressed stone and constructed on arched vaults supported by beautifully sculptured piers. On the exterior of the piers are sculpted statues of the saints, some of alabaster and some of bronze of

ART + CULTURE

For the man who has everything

One Tunisian cow Six straw hats Seven pounds of sausages One illustrated book on the excellence of women One short harquebus to go with the longer, more common models A ...

ART + CULTURE

Please Touch

Most people who head to Florence do so to see its Renaissance art treasures. But did you know that Florence boasts one of the world’s finest photography museums?   Florence is the home of Alinari, the world’s oldest firm working in the field of documentation of

ART + CULTURE

The worlds oldest profession

The study of history would suggest that while human nature remains fairly constant, attitudes, customs, and institutions change continuously. This certainly rings true in the case of ‘Signora Saltarella’, a leading courtesan in mid-sixteenth-century Florence and Rome.     Marco Bracci, reporting in the Medici Files

ART + CULTURE

Work of women sculptors living or working in the Florence area

Those looking for the work of women sculptors living or working in the Florence area will have better luck finding pieces from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries:   Felicie de Fauveau (Florence 1802–1866) was very political in her youth, which caused her to flee to Brussels at a

ART + CULTURE

Women at work

‘Sculpture is the art of producing, in three dimensions, representations of natural or imagined forms. It includes sculpture in the round, which can be viewed from any direction, as well ...

ART + CULTURE

In the beginning was De Gasperi

Fifty years ago, on 27 March 1957, Italy, West Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg signed one of the most important treaties in modern European history. The Treaty of Rome established the European Economic Community, now known as the European Union. The EU numbers over half a billion citizens,

ART + CULTURE

Upstairs downstairs

Piera da Menabbio, testifies under oath concerning her employment as a servant for a Jewish banker in Pescia   Fourth Day of August Piera daughter of Giuliano di Andrea da Menabbio presented herself freely in person. She was asked under oath if she had worked in the house of

ART + CULTURE

Behind every great man

In June, 1007, Tedaldo, a German marquis, donated money to build a monastery on the island of San Benedetto in the Po River, in memory of his wife, Guilia. To the monks who would live in the monastery, Tedaldo gave ‘half of the island, including the houses, woods, fields

ART + CULTURE

Cirque du Orfei

The white turban covering her jet-black beehive hairstyle, the heavy black eyeliner, long false eyelashes and bright red lips all went out with the 1960s. Yet such outdated and eccentric attributes are what make Moira Orfei instantly recognisable to Italians when they see her face on billboards, announcing the

ART + CULTURE

Manhunt for the misbehaving priest

Letter sent by Onofrio Camaini, the Sienese Chief of Justice to Duke Cosimo I de Medici on April 6, 1559:   [] The trial of Terenzio Usinini of Siena, who was arrested for the attempted rape of the Widow of Belforte, is almost over [] The result of the trial is that

ART + CULTURE

Frescoes in Florence

There are many important, and splendid, frescoes in Florence, among them the cenacoli (Last Supper paintings), all of which are frescoes. To get you started, here is a list of frescoes I believe should not be missed: The Brancacci Chapel: Masolinos and Masaccios famous frescoes. The Palazzo Medici-Riccardi: Benozzo

ART + CULTURE

Everything fresco

Frescoes reached their splendor in the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and Florence abounds with incredibly beautiful frescoes that the decorate walls and ceilings of churches and cloisters, public buildings and private homes. Understand the work that went into creating these paintings and you will find their beauty even more powerful.

ART + CULTURE

Aldo Moro

One of the most emblematic photographs of the socio-political events that occurred in twentieth-century Italy is that of the crumpled body of statesman Aldo Moro lying dead in the back of a battered, dark red Renault abandoned on via Caetani in Rome, halfway between the headquarters of the

ART + CULTURE

The Beast Reports from Rome

A letter written from Rome on 5 June 1540 by Rosso di Filippo de Medici (also kown as 'The Best') to his distant relative Cosimo I   You should know that Pavoncino has finally returned and has marvellous stories from France, Flanders and Spain about the manner with which he

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Going to the chapel

A chapel is a place for prayer, meditation, or private worship. A recess or small room within a church or cathedral; space in the private quarters of a state building (such as the chapel of Eleonora of Toledo’s chapel in the Palazzo Vecchio); a room in a private

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