Masterpieces not to be missed

Masterpieces not to be missed

The Michelozzo Courtyard

The central courtyard echoes the tripartite division of the austere external facade, alternating Renaissance elements with classical details, such as the monochrome graffito frieze, the stone medallions and capitals of various orders. On the north side, we find the statue of Orfeo che incanta Cerbero col suo canto, [Orpheus Enchanting Cerberus with his Song], a work by Baccio Bandinelli (1488-1560). On the walls of the courtyard there are 300 pieces of ancient art from the Riccardi archaeological collection.

 

The Chapel of the Magi

Built for hosting the family’s private services, the chapel stands today as the oldest of the private sections of the Palazzo. In 1459, the commission for the fresco decoration of the walls was awarded to the painter Benozzo Gozzoli, previously a pupil of Beato Angelico, who offers us an amazing collection of portraits of eminent figures of the time in the hunting party. The opulent clothing, the characterisation of the people and the meticulous naturalistic details are just a few of the elements that go to make this chapel one of the jewels of fifteenth-century art. A sumptuous floor with marble and porphyry inlays and a carved, gilded ceiling also embellish the chapel. On the altar, the altarpiece depicts the Adorazione del Bambino, [Adoration of the Child], a coeval copy of Filippo Lippi, which is now in Berlin. The wooden choir pews are attributed to  Giuliano da Sangallo.

 

Madonna con Bambino by Filippo Lippi

The composition of this Madonna and Child, notable for its refined elegance and tender affection, maintains a perfect dialogue with the coeval sculpture by Donatello and Luca della Robbia. On the back of the panel there are some sketches by paintbrush – including an intensely expressive male head – ascribable to Lippi himself.

 

The Luca Giordano Room

The room named “La Galleria”, overlooking the Medici Garden, is, considered as a whole, a masterpiece of Florentine Baroque art. Created in the 1780s, the room boasts mirrored walls painted with animal and vegetable motifs, alternating with cabinet doors with precious gilded wooden inlays. The decoration is in perfect harmony with the vault painted by the celebrated Neapolitan artist Luca Giordano, who painted the spectacular Apoteosi della dinastia dei Medici [Apotheosis of the Medici Dynasty], with such a fresh, dynamic style.

 

The Marble Museum

Inaugurated in 2005, the museum houses twenty-two pieces from the classical age collected in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The sculptures, which portray emperors and poets, athletes and philosophers, testify to the love of the Riccardi family for collecting.

 

The Medici Garden

An essential element of the family’s private life, the garden has been modified several times over the centuries. Its current appearance dates back to the early twentieth century, a restoration promoted by the Province of Florence, which purchased the complex in 1874. On the west side is the Limonaia, an area embellished with stucco and eighteenth-century decorations, and viewable today during special openings.

 

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