Annunciation in Florence: architecture and artworks – part two
In the previous post we discovered some of the Florentine artworks related to the Annunciation (to the Blessed Virgin Mary) topos: in this post we will find out more about a religious building devoted to the same Catholic feast, and the Beato Angelico’s work.
Annunciation in Florence: the Santissima Annunziata church
The Basilica of the Most Holy Annunciation is a Renaissance church in Florence. As it often happens in the cradle of Renaissance, the church is a major renovation of previously existing buildings.
According to the tradition, a monastery had been built in the area in 1081. In 1233 it was in a state of abandonment when seven young Florentine med had a vision of the Madonna asking for the renovation of the monastery. It was the beginning of the “Servi di Maria”, the Servite order, which started in 1250 the construction of the new basilica.
Made in Florence, made in Heaven…
According to the tradition, the Annunciazione painted by a friar Bartolomeo in 1252 was finished during the night by an Angel, as Bartolomeo was worried to be not good enough to paint the Mary’s face.
Renovation and extension works went on in the basilica until 1469, when Leon Battista Alberti designed the “new” basilica. Alberti died in 1469, but the works went on according to his project, and completed in 1481. The current situation of the basilica is almost the Renaissance one. The Giovanni Battista Caccini’s façade dates to 1601 but it is in Renaissance style, to match the Foundling Hospital (the façade of the Hospital had been designed by Brunelleschi).
Beato Angelico’s Annunciazione
Not far from the basilica della Santissima Annunziata, in the Convento di San Marco, you can see a beautiful medieval Annunciazione, the Beato Angelico’s one. Painted earlier than 1435, this annunciation is an amazing example of pre – Renaissance and pre – perspective take of a complex space in painting. You will be amazed by the richness of the texture and details!!!