Photo ©Hao Xu

Pitti Palace, Florence

The painted and sculpted images which are part of the architectonic environment in the Pitti Palace is also a fundamental component in the rooms of Palazzo Vecchio

Piazza de Pitti, 1

In those same years, that Giorgio Vasari began and carried out the construction of the Uffizi, while Ammannati was commissioned to extend and redecorate the Pitti Palace. In creating the courtyard, Ammanati resolves his idea of ‘sequence’: through a carefully calculated system of ratios rich in dynamic implications, he accomplishes his own interpretation of the same Uffizi theme of parallel arcaded pathways that define an empty central space, which is closed on all sides, but at the same time related to the town-planning context intended as ‘sequence’. In one direction: the sloping Pitti square and the urban texture of the other side of the Arno river seen from above, at roof level, and framed through the entrance at the central axis of the palace. In the opposite direction: with a succession of differently defined open spaces, the courtyard, all in stone but pervaded by light and atmospheric resonances, and the other green spaces, landscaped in different ways and arranged at increasing levels up the slopes of Boboli hill.
Here, the wall-volume solution is fundamental (Nimphaeum and the terrace above, with the fountain centered on its axis) to enclosing the courtyard on the Boboli side. It is based on a concept that is recurrent in many Mannerist-style villas, like for example, Villa Giulia. It is inside this general concept that one must read the magnificent decoration of the walls, where the plastic and ornamental art is conceived in relation to the view from different angles, from different levels, and from varying distances coherently with the dynamic space developments of the passageways in the palace-garden sequence.
Whomever the design of the garden has been attributed to, the idea to fuse architecture and green spaces in a single unit, in a single design and in a single construction is definitely Ammmanati’s. The fundamental element in the specification of the rooms in Palazzo Vecchio is due to the development of the painted or sculpted image as a presence in the architectural space. These are in the shape of realistic iconographic programs (direct or allegorical) and are also evident in the conception of the external spaces in other interventions during the time of Cosimo, as well as in the decoration of the Piazza Ducale or the Boboli garden. The use of iconographic representations as elements of internal space had begun in the 1500s with the decorative panels for private rooms (Borgherini and Bennintendi rooms) created by Andrea Del Sarto, Pontormo, Bachiacca, Franciabigio, and would develop further during the second half of the century, in town palaces as well as villas. An perfect example is found in Francesco I’s small study in the Ducale Palace. The images of Cosimo and the other members of the Medici family populate the rooms and the halls of Ducale Palace, taking the shape either of figures from classic mythology or more realistic figures.

Article by APT Firenze

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