A Wanderer in Florence eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 333 pages of information about A Wanderer in Florence.
assistants, very possibly on this very cantoria, and almost certainly on the Prato pulpit.  Everything here, it must be remembered, has some association with the Duomo and was brought here for careful preservation and that whoever has fifty centimes might take pleasure in seeing it; but the great silver altar is from the Baptistery, and being made for that temple is naturally dedicated to the life of John the Baptist.  Although much of it was the work of not the greatest modellers in the second half of the fourteenth century, three masters at least contributed later:  Michelozzo adding the statue of the Baptist, Pollaiuolo the side relief depicting his birth, and Verrocchio that of his death, which is considered one of the most remarkable works of this sculptor, whom we are to find so richly represented at the Bargello.  Before leaving this room, look for 100^3, an unknown terra-cotta of the Birth of Eve, which is both masterly and amusing, and 110^4, a very lovely intaglio in wood.  I might add that among the few paintings, all very early, is a S. Sebastian in whose sacred body I counted no fewer than thirty arrows; which within my knowledge of pictures of this saint—­not inconsiderable—­is the highest number.

The next room is given to models and architectural plans and drawings connected with the cathedral, the most interesting thing being Brunelleschi’s own model for the lantern.  On the stairs are a series of fine bas-reliefs by Bandinelli and Giovanni dell’ Opera from the old choir screen of the Duomo, and downstairs, among many other pieces of sculpture, is a bust of Brunelleschi from a death-mask and several beautiful della Robbia designs for lunettes over doors.

CHAPTER IV

The Campanile and the Baptistery

A short way with Veronese critics—­Giotto’s missing spire—­Donatello’s holy men—­Giotto as encyclopaedist—­The seven and twenty reliefs—­Ruskin in American—­At the top of the tower—­A sea of red roofs—­The restful Baptistery—­Historic stones—­An ex-Pope’s tomb—­Andrea Pisano’s doors—­Ghiberti’s first doors—­Ghiberti’s second doors—­Michelangelo’s praise—­A gentleman artist.

It was in 1332, as I have said, that Giotto was made capo-maestro, and on July 18th, 1334, the first stone of his campanile was laid, the understanding being that the structure was to exceed “in magnificence, height, and excellence of workmanship” anything in the world.  As some further indication of the glorious feeling of patriotism then animating the Florentines, it may be remarked that when a Veronese who happened to be in Florence ventured to suggest that the city was aiming rather too high, he was at once thrown into gaol, and, on being set free when his time was done, was shown the treasury as an object lesson.  Of the wealth and purposefulness of Florence at that time, in spite of the disastrous bellicose period she had been passing through, Villani the historian,

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A Wanderer in Florence from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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