Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ospedale degli Innocenti: Hospital of the Innocents

It doesn't look very revolutionary to our eyes, but the Foundlings' Hospital would have amazed anyone who saw it in 1424, the first of Brunelleschi's architectural designs. (That road trip to Rome he took with Donatello and Masaccio changed a lot of things, in sculpture, painting, and architecture). The Foundlings' Hospital was a new concept as well, a secular hospital for abandoned innocents. The wheel on which unwanted infants anonymously were left, for more than 400 years, is now gone. But Andrea della Robbia's touching medallions, between all the arches, remind us of a practice and charity that continues to our own time.

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