St. Bernardino

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Andrea della Robbia and Workshop
St. Bernardino
This glazed terracotta roundel ornaments the portico of the Ospedale di San Paolo dei Convalescenti in Florence, designed by Michelozzo at the behest of Benino Benini, beginning in 1451 and finished in 1495, as inscribed on the facade. The saints are depicted three-quarter length, emerging out of clouds, set against a cloudy sky , as if appearing in a vision. This and the other roundels are glazed in a naturalistic range of colours, including varied flesh tones, and the figures though are given a wiry, almost nervous energy, especially in the articulation of hands, faces and folds of their garments. Some scholars see the new naturalism here as Savonarolan, given that Andrea and his children are documented to have been followers and defenders of the fiery preacher. This portico faces the Piazza Santa Maria Novella, and so these roundels are a vital part of the cityscape in one of the most prominent locations in Florence. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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