The High Renaissance palace in Florence, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, near the Duomo, was another landmark in this bejeweled city. It was a residence for Medice then Riccardi clans. I remember that I walked by it everyday during my stay in Florence, since my hotel was just a few doors down.
The palace had many treasures, itself included, befitting to the exalted status of the ruling Medici family. The most unforgettable paintings in the palace was the fresco cycle in the Cappella dei Magi, (the Magi Chapel) by the Renaissance master Benozzo Gozzoli, painted in 1459-1461. They were colorful and vibrant, and the figures were much idealized and stylized. The impressive retinue of the Magi were like toy soldiers yet they were not ridiculous but endearing. This was a chapel for the people who still have treasured memory of a wonderful childhood.
Cappella dei Magi, vedute generali
Eastern Wall, the procession of the Magi
The procession of the Magi on the eastern wall, easily commanded my attention, which was led by Caspar, the youngest Magus on a magnificent white horse. Caspar, young and ethereal beautiful, gazed upon viewers unflinchingly and once one looked into his eyes, it was hard to shift from that thoughtful gaze. This figure was alleged to be a portrait of Lorenzo il Magnifico.
East Wall, Caspar, the youngest Magus - alleged portrait of Lorenzo il Magnifico
After such sumptuous visual feast, I was glad to encounter something very plain and austere - a drawing by Fra Filippo Lippi - on the reverse side of his painting: Madonna and Child. That painting was accomplished and with his usual beauty yet it was this monochromatic drawing commanded attention. This drawing, for some reason, had been referred to as a woman with a moustache. With or without a moustache, she was full of grace. His three-quarter profile revealed her to be a woman full of feelings and emotions. Her eyes, gazing upwards, were almost in tears. The line drawing was delicate and precise. The modeling of the head full. With a few economic and assured strokes, Lippi gave us a great compassionate interceder.
My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 25: My Favorite Artworks at Cappelle Medicee, San Lorenzo, Firenze
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