museo del bigallo, florence: the first depiction of fiorenza

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Loggia del Bigallo - Florence
The first depiction of Fiorenza

The 14th-century city of Fiorenza is depicted in a fresco housed in the small and little-known Museo del Bigallo, located in the heart of the city centre opposite the Baptistery. The fresco in question is La Madonna della Misericordia and was painted by Bernardo Daddi in 1342. It is a fascinating work, as is I capitani della Misericordia affidano alle madri i fanciulli abbandonati, produced by Niccolò di Pietro Gerini in 1386.

Both works shed light on the advanced degree of civilization achieved by Florence in terms of Christian care for the poor and disadvantaged. And it is no coincidence that these works are to be found in the Bigallo, because the premises were once occupied by the Compagnia della Misericordia, whose mission was to help the young and needy, and by the Confraternità del Bigallo, which merged with the Misericordia under the 14th-century loggia where the museum entrance is now situated. The museum itself contains a small but invaluable collection of art works produced in Florence between the 14th and 16th centuries.

Museo del Bigallo - Florence: Leonardo da VinciThe museum has recently been enlarged to include new rooms on the first floor – the inauguration was on 27 July 2007 – and houses some recently restored frescos that were originally on the façade of the building. The fresco scenes depict the work of San Pier Martire, founder of the Confraternità del Bigallo and of the Compagnia della Misericordia, who died in Milan in 1252. Other important paintings, on board and canvas, are due to go on display in the museum once restoration work currently being carried out by the Office for Fine Arts has been completed.

The premises are also occupied by the Libera Achademia Leonardi Vinci, an offshoot of the Museo Ideale in Vinci. This is a permanent museum orkshop that will display documents, works and projects attributed to Leonardo, an endless source of material for study and research. The effect is to establish a kind of cultural thread between the Florentine scene in the 13th century and that of Leonardo.

It will soon also be possible to arrange guided tours of the Museo del Bigallo in small groups, and to participate actively in the activities organized by the Achademia Leonardi.
Open: Tuesday–Sunday, 10am–1.30pm and 3–6.30pm.
Admission: € 3.00

From APT - Agenzia per il Turismo di Firenze (Florence Tourist Office)

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