Christmassy art in Florence: Florentine Christmas – related masterpieces
Christmassy art in Florence: or, what happens when the Christmas topic meets the genius of the medieval and Renaissance Florentine artists.
The iconography of the Nativity importance is dramatic in the development of the Christian art.
While in Florence there are not many important paintings about the Immaculate Conception (the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8th, is a national holiday in Italy and, traditionally, it represents the beginning of the Christmas time. Many Italian family set up their albero di Natale, the Christmas tree, on that day): one of them is the Immaculate Conception with Saints by Piero di Cosimo (1462-1522), there are many artworks portraying other topics related to the birth of Christ and the Epiphany and Adoration of the Magi (but we will have a specific post on it in a few weeks).
The Uffizi gallery hosts many Madonna with Child, a topic which can variates for the presence of other characters along Mary and Jesus.
Among these artworks, the Madonna with Child by Cima da Conegliano, painted around 1504; the Madonna with Child with Young John the Baptist (1514) by Lucas Cranach the Elder, a representative of the German Renaissance.
The most famous Uffizi “Madonna with Child” paintings are probably the Madonna of the Goldfinch (1505-1506) by Raffaello and the Madonna with Child and two Angels (around 1465, the featured image of this post) by Filippo Lippi, not to mention the medieval masterpiece by Giotto, the Ognissanti Madonna (around 1310).
The Holy Family representations in the Christmassy art in Florence: a Michelangelo’s masterpiece
Holy Family representations include Saint Joseph too.
The Uffizi Sacra Famiglia di Parte Guelfa (Guelph Holy Family, around 1490) by Luca Signorelli is the work which inspired the most important painting by Michelangelo, and the only 100% Michelangelo’s “portable” artwork: the Tondo Doni (Doni Tondo – after its round shape – or Doni Madonna, around 1507).
In the Tondo, influenced by Leonardo da Vinci’s The Virgin and Child with St. Anne too, Saint John the Baptist (the Florence saint patron), as a baby, quite literally sneak in into the painting middle – ground, while the Ignudi, the naked figures in the background, still are an iconographic mystery.
An eastern Nativity in Florence
Leaving the Uffizi, there are no Catholic Nativity church in Florence, but there is a Christian Orthodox one: the Nativity Russian Orthodox Church.
The church was built between 1899 and 1902 and it gives an unusual russian touch to an area otherwise dominated by the Medicis’ stronghold of the Fortezza da Basso.