Buontalenti Grotto - Florence Piazza Pitti. Built between 1583 and 1593.

The Buontalenti Grotto – originally designed by Giorgio Vasari – is one of Italy’s most beautiful “fantastic caves”: a type of mannerist architectures that represented natural cavities with a creative twist, using limestone agglutinations and water games.

The Grotto is also home to various sculptures, including the four “Prisons” by Michelangelo (currently replaced by copies, with the originals being kept at the Galleria dell’Accademia), “Paris and Helen” by Vincenzo de’ Rossi and the “Fountain of Venus” by Giambologna.

via: Italian Ways


Cupola di Santa Maria del Fiore, Firenze (Dome of St. Mary of the Flower Cathedral, Florence)

 The dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy, built between 1420 and 1436, is still the largest brick-dome in the world (outer 54m/177.16ft, inner 45m/147.64ft).

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (St. Mary of the Flower Cathedral) was built between 1294-95 and 1314-15 by Arnolfo di Cambio (c. 1240 - 1300/1310), but no one for over a century had any idea on how to complete the enormous dome, until the work was commissioned to Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) and Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455), but the first oneremained soon the only architect. His work of art is famous as one of the most daring masterpieces of the world:  the dome is actually a double building, with a smaller dome inside the external one, probably to strengthen and unload its structure.

The frescoes inside the dome date back to 1572-79 (about one century later the fulfillment of the dome) and were made by Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) and Federico Zuccari (1540-1609). The area is the largest ever frescoed in the world: 3.600 mq (38,750 sq ft).

A little fun fact: they say that Baccio d'Agnolo (1462-1543), master builder of the Cathedral, was appointed in 1512 to build the dome’s gallery. The work was suspended in 1512 because of Florentine people’s disapproval and Michelangelo’s opposition (his plan had been refused in the tender notice). When his opinion was requested, he remarked the gallery looked like a “crickets cage”. Baccio, very annoyed for the witty remark, left the work unfinished. I don’t know whether the story it’s true or not, but the gallery is still finished only on one side (see next to last + last image).

Google Maps


Frederick Leighton, Cimabue’s Madonna Carried in Procession (1853-1855)

After [Cimabue’s] return to Florence he made for the church of S. Maria Novella a picture of our Lady, which work was of larger size than those that had been made before that time, and the angels that stand round, although they are in the Greek manner, yet show something of the modern style. Therefore this work caused such marvel to the people of that time, never having seen a better, that it was borne in solemn procession with trumpets and great rejoicing from the house of Cimabue to the church, and he himself received great honours and rewards.

- Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of the Artists


Hannibal Art Meme

The (Renaissance) Still Life

During the Renaissance, artists turned to the classical world, its literature, architecture, and art, for inspiration, and it provided the figural ideal emulated in painting in sculpture of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It also provided, though to a lesser extent, early precedents for still-life painting. These could be found in trompe l'oeil murals and illusionistic tile work depicting fruits, flowers, eating vessels, bones, and skulls. Nevertheless, still-life painting in the Renaissance was consigned by art historians such as Giorgio Vasari to the lowest limbs of the hierarchy of the arts, as its execution was believed to rely less on divinely appointed genius than upon observation, science, and craftsmanship: an artisanal rather than artistic talent. By the end of the sixteenth century, several artists had challenged this convention, and a new generation of painters brought a greater naturalism, and with it an elevated esteem, to the genre. (x) (x) (x) (x)


art history meme • [1/7] sculptures and other media: giorgio vasari - giudizio universale (last judgment)

In 1568 Giorgio Vasari was called to fresco the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, which Brunelleschi would have preferred decorated with mosaics, instead. Vasari worked on it from 11th June 1572 until his death. Afterwards, Federico Zuccari finished it, helped by others.

Here, the Last Judgment is not interpreted anymore as a moment of doubt and anguish, like it had been for Michelangelo. The story told on the fresco is a combination of tales from the Old Testament, the New Testament, St John’s The Apocalypse but also from Dante’s Commedia.