Wednesday, October 16, 2013


The All Saints church, near the Arno, just beyond the 2nd bridge downstream from the Ponte Vecchio, is one of the important churches we had not seen before. The more we learned about it, the more important it became to us. It took us three visits to see everything of interest.
Ognissanti, 13th century

Pretty Baroque nowadays; but it's not really the church you
come to see

"Amerigo, the beautiful..." You see, the Ognissanti was the
parish church of the Vespucci family; that's Amerigo there
just left of Mary; he was on a mission for the Medicis, to
check out the claims of the Genovan Cristoforo Colombo;
he took two separate cruises on said mission and came to
the conclusion that Columbus had not reached Asia nor the
Indies but a whole new hitherto undiscovered continent;
actually two; in one of the better PR moves in history, Amerigo
had two continents named after him; the leading mapmakers
of the day, it so happened, were Florentines, so of course they
promoted the local boy; and the rest is history

Simonetta Vespucci was the great beauty of her
age, captivating her Vespucci husband Marco,
possibly Lorenzo the Magnificent's brother,
Giuliano, and most certainly the great painter
of the age, Botticelli; she is Venus, Spring, the
Madonna, Eve and who knows what else among
the works Botticelli pitched into the Bonfires of
the Vanities; she died quite young, 22; 34 years
later Botticelli asked to be buried at her feet in the


And thus

The day's love letters to Botticelli; the church also holds his
St. Augustine in His Study, but it was on loan for an exhibition
in Brazil

In the Ognissanti's refectory is Ghirlandaio's Last Supper,
possibly the first of this style of Last Supper; Ghirlandaio
was Michaelangelo's first teacher

Incredibly, the sinopia for the fresco is on the adjacent wall,
and one can study the changes that occurred between design
and realization

Detail; not Ghirlandaio's most famous work, but one of them

"Jeez, lame white wine, again!"

The cloister is filled with frescoes, including this one with bold
new ideas about tights for guys

1 comment:

Tawana said...

Wow! I never heard of this church, and it is so interesting. S glad you discovered it.