Church of Ognissanti, Florence, Italy

Last year, 2016, we visited Florence, Italy, it wasn’t a particularly nice day, but what amazed me was the amount of people there were, I actually thought that in October, it would have been quieter, got that wrong.  It didn’t help that we got lost once we left the train station, we walked for ages until we worked out that we were totally going in the wrong direction, we cut through some back streets to the river and then realised where we should be.  But if we hadn’t got lost we would have missed the beautiful church of Ognissanti (All Saints).  Not a large church, but it was open, it was free and the best thing of all……you could take photos, as long as you didn’t use a flash.  After all the closed and photo forbidden churches in Venice…. I was going to photograph every inch of it.  

The Church of Ognissanti is a Franciscan church and Sandro Botticelli is buried here, which I didn’t know until I got home and carried out some research.  

A little history…. I added the information boards at the bottom of the post….The original church was completed in 1257, but was almost completely rebuilt in the baroque style in 1627.  There is a beautiful blue terracotta glazed lunette, over the entrance, in the style of della Robbia, but the artist was actually Benedetto Buglioni. There are frescoes by Ghirlandiao and Botticelli in the church. 

Below is Giotto’s Crucifix which dates from the 1320’s, which has been carefully restored over eight years.   It was a lovey surprise to see it shine in the darkness, so very beautiful.  

Giotto’s Crucifix

Some information I found………….Formerly in the sacristy for 84 years, Giotto’s monumental Crucifix is back in the Florentine church for which it was painted in 1310-1315, after a careful 8-year long restoration by the Opificio delle Pierre Dure, which has restored the luminosity and brilliance of its colours and glazes, its volumes and its modelling.

The Ognissanti Crucifix was a neglected Italian treasure which a team of experts have now repaired and identified.  After long being attributed to a relative or school of the early Renaissance artist Giotto, the Ognissanti crucifix is now believed to be the work of the 14th-century Italian himself.  The painted cross, which hangs in the Ognissanti church in Florence, underwent extensive cleaning by the local restoration lab Opificio delle Pietre Dure.  The project was led by art historian Marco Ciatti, who has concluded that the crucifix is a Giotto masterpiece dating from the 1320s.

The majestic tempera on panel realised by Giotto and his workshop around 1310-1320 had been sadly neglected for centuries.  Kept in the sacristy of the church of Ognissanti, it was rarely seen and the vigorous modelling of the flesh tones of the figures, and the many precious details of the pictorial surface, were hidden by a severely altered layer due to a treatment of the past and century-old grime. The restoration of Giotto’s Ognissanti Crucifix was started by Paola Bracco in 2002.
The crucifix is situated in a chapel to the left of the transept. The crucifix was originally located above the rood screen in the transept of the Ognissanti church, but this no longer exists.

The church seems small inside, with no aisles, and compressed almost for being very densely decorated. Vertigo-inducing trompe l’oeil architectural ceiling painting by Giuseppe Benucci.  When you look at the ceiling at different angles, it seemed to move.  The ceiling seems a lot higher than it is, and it looks like the angel is about to fly from the balcony, which is really flat against the ceiling, so very clever.

St Jerome in his Study, fresco by Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1480.  Unfortunately I have no idea who painted the rest of the frescos, but I love the little round ceiling with the angels.  I will let the photos continue the tour of this amazing church that we were lucky to find.

8 comments

  1. Wonderful that you got to photograph this beautiful church. The crucifix is absolutely breathtaking. Those eight years of work really brought it to life. I like the balcony on the ceiling. Even in the longer shot my eye wants to put it on the wall. Well done, Lynne. 🙂

  2. Wow, that is one beautifully painted Church, the fresco’s are stunning. I’ve really enjoyed looking round this Church – well done.
    John

    1. Thank you John, I was just pleased that you could take photos, in so many of them in Florence and Venice you couldn’t. Glad you enjoyed the tour 🙂

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