Sculptures of Florence

A brand new section of Florence-On-Line for 2014. Here we'll be highlighting some of our favorites sculptures that reside in Florence, from museums and churches to squares and palaces - if we like it, we'll write about it here and maybe even try to get some guest bloggers and scholars to contribute also.

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Below are some of our most recent entries posted in the Sculptures of Florence category - use the links at the end of the page to access all the articles individually.

Where To See Renaissance Sculpture In Florence

Florence-On-Line is pleased to present this introduction to sculpture in Florence from Alexandra Korey. You can find more of her writing on Florence at:

You probably know that Florence is the city in which the Renaissance was born. You may not be totally familiar with the concept that the style we call Renaissance first became apparent in sculpture, rather than in painting and architecture, which followed soon after.

Four Crowned Saints

Quattro Santi Coronati (Four Crowned Saints), Orsanmichele

Some of the first sculptural works in the Renaissance style were made for Orsanmichele, a building in the center of Florence that was the city's grain storage building, but that turned into a church because of a revered Madonna housed there. Each of the guilds of Florence were charged to make a sculpture for Orsanmichele's exterior niches, and it's here that we see a kind of face-off between Ghiberti, an older generation artist working in bronze, and the young upstart Donatello, making his first marbles in the first decade of the 1400s. All of the works in the niches now are copies, but they're worth looking at, or you can visit the Orsanmichele museum to see the originals (open only on Mondays from 10am to 5pm - and it's free).

Continue reading Where To See Renaissance Sculpture In Florence.

Torso of a centaur, torso del centauro, Uffizi Gallery


Popularly known as the "Gaddi Torso" for the wealthy Florentine family that possessed it in the early 16th century, this sculptural fragment of a faun or centaur - half man, half beast - was probably "discovered" in Rome.

It is of Greek origin, from around the second century B.C. and may have been in the private collection of Lorenzo Ghiberti before coming to the Gaddi.

It is one of the most perfect pieces of sculpture I have ever seen (yes, I am putting this piece up there with the Pietà  of Michelangelo) - it is so alive, so coiled - I always expect to see it spring off the pedestal. I am not sure why the scholarship has the history as it does, it is hard to find a lot of detail on pieces like this in English. But why it is listed as "Fauno" and not just a fragment from something else is purely an interpretation of the pose - the centaur tied with his hands around his back is an iconic image of the late Hellenistic period - and it must be assumed that is what scholars see when looking at this. Remarkably and I think correctly it has never been "restored" - meaning hands, arms, legs, etc. attached from speculation. If it had been I think it would have lost much of its power.

This (smuggled) photo is from part of the "New" Uffizi and this piece's new permanent home. It used to be in the first room on the right in the main corridor on the top floor (when you reached the top and "entered" the museum proper, you would have to turn to the right and look at it from the corridor in the room full of other Greek and Roman sculptures). Now it is in the newly renovated part of the museum on the opposite side, which is painted a rather gaudy red. Again, according to current scholarship this was how these salons were originally set up and painted. I don't mind the color as much as the hallway like feeling of the room - the viewing experience, after all this work on the new rooms of the museum, seems cramped and rushed as most people at this point are just shuffling to the exit.

Still, this piece alone is in my top ten reasons to visit Florence. Try to see it off season or late in the day so you can spend some time in front of it without huge crowds around you.

All entries in Sculptures of Florence (alphabetical listing)

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