This tour is meant to unveil some of Florence fresco paintings (wall paintings), and offers an overview of mural decoration and aspects of daily life in Florentine art.
Fresco is a flexible and effective method of painting, which is at the same time rather demanding: since it is painted on damp plaster the artist is always working against the clock, but once done it is permanent and resistant.
We start our walk at Santa Maria Novella, one of the most important basilicas of Florence, with paintings originating over a period of 200 years: the first representation of Dante’s Inferno, the complex theological references of the Spanish Chapel frescoes and the monumental cloisters together offer a variety of mural decoration that serve didactic or celebratory purposes and that allow the visitors to get acquainted with the many possibilities offered by fresco technique.
In the Oltrarno, Masaccio and Masolino worked as a team in the Chiesa del Carmine in 1425. Their frescoes are considered a turning point in Italian art: with the atmospheric effects, the new consideration for antiquity as a source of inspiration, the portraits of various Florentine personalities and the discovery of perspective they have created an unparalleled example of Renaissance art.
Crossing back over the Arno, at the church of Santa Trinita we focus our attention on the Cappella Sassetti by Ghirlandaio: hard worker and successful artist, Ghirlandaio offered his services to important bankers and merchants. His narrative style is plain, but his attention focuses on costumes and details, supported by a great mastery of technique.
Of course there is more than just chapels and churches, although frescoes were expensive and a status symbol meant for public display. Halls and bedrooms were frequently decorated in private homes: geometric patterns, painted flowers and trees provided a colorful background for everyday life as we still see in Palazzo Davanzati, the only surviving secular decoration in Renaissance Florence.
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