Sunday, June 12, 2011

Santa Maria Novella

The next morning, with just minutes left on our Florence Cards, we made it to the Santa Maria Novella, another large church and cloister, near the bus station.
S. Maria Novella from the piazza

In the cloisters, one of the many 1430 frescoes, here,
Creation, Temptation, Expulsion, et cetera, by Ucello and
students; quite weathered, but a few still recognizable

But the big draw, outside the church itself, is the Spanish
Chapel (so-called because Spanish courtiers used to hang
out there), three vast walls and a ceiling of frescoes by
Andrea di Bonaiuti, all celebrating the Dominicans; above,
a Crucifixion plus cast of hundreds

Including cute devils

The left wall, my personal favorite, showing the Triumph of
Divine Wisdom and Glorification of St. Thomas Aquinas,
there, center/front, stomping on Nestor, Averroes, and some
other intellectual competitor

The right-hand wall glorifies the Dominicans more generally;
as ecclesiatical leaders, teachers, and as "God's dogs," at the
bottom, devouring the non-Christian wolves

In the detail here, lower register, center, allegedly, are pictured
Cimabue, Giotto, Boccaccio, Petrarch, and Dante

Up on the ceiling, the Church as ship

Church interior: a very large, austere,
preaching church for the Dominicans

Very nice, very old windows in the chancel

And enormous frescoes by Ghirlandiao and

But the great treasure in this church is
Masaccio's Trinity, said to be the first painting
to employ Brunelleschi's new mathematics of
linear perspective

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