Florence’s Best Frescoes
Posted by Sonia (11/12/2015)
Florence is a truly spectacular city with a rich and varied history and culture. One of the city’s best known features is the wonderful quality of its artworks, with its magnificent frescoes being one of the key talking points for most visitors. There are literally hundreds of different frescos to see in the city’s many buildings that are open to the public, but there are several which stand out from the rest and are really not to be missed.
Part of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, the interior walls of the Magi Chapel are almost entirely covered with frescos by the Renaissance master Benozzo Gozzoli. The paintings are all related to the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.
The three main frescos portray the journey of the three magi (or ‘wise men’) on the way to Bethlehem to honour the birth of Jesus. Many people believe that the depictions of the magi were based on the likenesses of members of the Medici family who owned the palazzo and paid for the frescos. There are further smaller frescoes in the apse showing various saints and angels and there are also three vertical frescos showing the shepherds who visited Jesus.
Santa Maria Novella
The first great basilica constructed in Florence, Santa Maria Novella’s frescoes offer fantastic examples of both Gothic and early Renaissance artwork. The Filippo Strozzi Chapel contains Filippino Lippi’s depictions of the apostles Philip and James which were completed in 1502. The chapel also contains frescoes of St John the Evangelist, Adam, Noah, Jacob and Abraham.
The Cappella Strozzi di Mantova features frescoes inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy and in the Della Pura Chapel there is the wonderful 14th century fresco of Madonna and Child and St. Catherine.
Il Duomo di Firenze (Florence Cathedral)
More properly known as Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower), Il Duomo is one of the best known and most visited sites in Florence. Its most recognisable feature is the 45 metre wide dome that crowns the building, the underside of which is home to a truly spectacular fresco.
The work, carried out under the supervision of Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari took 11 years, starting in 1568 and ending in 1579. The gigantic painting covers 3,600 square metres and represents the Last Judgement. Vasari died in 1574, meaning he never got to see the work completed, however Zuccari and others finished the fresco and, following restoration work that ended in 1995 this magnificent artwork is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.