| The Gallery of the Hospital of the Innocents
Address: Piazza SS. Annunziata, 12
Gallery is set in one of the best known and most important
architectural complexes of the early fifteenth century in
Florence. This was commissioned and financed by the Arte della
Lana to the designs of Filippo
Brunelleschi. The "hospital" aimed to raise
abandoned children and teach them some useful trade enabling them
to take their place in society. In the buildings of the
refectory, cloisters, dormitories, infirmary, nurses' rooms and
porticoes, Brunelleschi created a perfect example of rational and
harmonious hospital architecture subsequently enlarged and
decorated with frescoes documenting the continuing activities of
the institution and the favours of the reigning Medici family.
After the 1966 flood, the entire complex of buildings was
completely restored in an attempt to return to its original
fifteenth century appearance.
The Gallery is placed in the loggia above the cloister and in the
former dayroom of the children above the main portico. It
consists of fine works which represent however only a small part of
the collections made up over the centuries by gifts, bequestes
and loans, apart from works, specifically executed for the
Innocenti itself. Although the more important objects by Della
Robbia. Fra' Angelico, Vasari and Giambologna were dispersed in
the nineteenth century what remains is of outstanding quality.
This includes panel paintings, detached frescoes, furniture and
decorations and a series of fine illuminated manuscripts of the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries among the best in Florence.
The best pictures include the Adoration of the Magi by Domenico
Ghirlandaio (1449-1494) made for the Hospital church, one of the
most significant paintings of the late fifteenth century. Its
colours and detail are splendid and includes portraits of
merchants of the Arte della Seta and their servants, all
connected with Hospital life. There are some gold-ground
paintings of high quality, and a Madonna and Child attributed to
the young Botticelli (1445-1510) still under the influence of his
master Filippo Lippi, one of Luca della Robbia's most attractive
glazed terracottas, an alterpiece by Piero di Cosimo
(1461/2-1521) also painted for the Hospital church and a typical
Madonna of the Innocenti of the school of Granacci (1469-1543).
In it, the Madonna is seen protecting the children in front of
the portico of Brunelleschi.