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Friday, November 4, 2016

Babies

Much of Florence's artistic glory is presented with an eye toward meaning, but given the sheer size of the trove, one is often overwhelmed.  After all, just how many Annunciations can one see in an hour and maintain a separate and unique understanding of each?  And each of these Annunciations is separated by a Coronation and an Assumption and an Adoration or two as there are multiple kinds of Adorations.  Too much!

Today, we visited the old Foundling Hospital, by which I mean the early 14th century Foundling hospital, though it served its mission, to save abandoned babies, well into the 19th century.  The building is one of the very first buildings to reflect Renaissance architecture.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ospedale_degli_Innocenti)

Over the centuries, the hospital collected art.  Early on, for example, it commissioned Andrea della Robbia to decorate the facade with blue terra-cotta circles of babies.  Now, there are a great deal of blue della Robbia terra-cottas in Florence. The della Robbia family invented the process and were well known for their art.  But this large collection is just babies.  And the rest of the hospital's art, now displayed in a museum setting in the original building, is mostly baby focused.  All the same basic themes, Annunciations, Coronations and such, but with babies in each art work.

The hospital/museum also has an exhibit of the building's history and their dedication to abandoned children.  And opportunities to see "behind" the original architecture which is pretty amazing.  And a roof top terrace with, just maybe, the single best view of the city.

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