ARNOLDI, Alberto
(active 1351-1364 in Florence)

General view

Loggia del Bigallo, Florence

The Loggia del Bigallo is a late Gothic structure in Florence, one of a dozen public loggias in the city. It is part of a construction that housed the Compagnia della Misericordia, who commissioned the structure. The open loggia served to shelter lost children and unwanted infants who were abandoned to the care of the brotherhood, the "Company of Mercy".

The Loggia shows a trend towards increasing decorative intricacy. Alberto Arnoldi, who is documented between 1359 and 1364 as working on the closely related altar and for an external lunette, may well have been concerned in its design. The porch is so intricately carved in low relief that it almost qualifies as sculpture. If the blank pierced quatrefoils were indeed meant for paintings, like the shallow niches on the inner piers, this would be a further stage in the blending of pictorial, architectural, and sculptural effects attempted at Orsanmichele. On the other hand, for all its decorative complexity the architectural framework of the Loggia, with its careful rectilinear enclosure of the round-arched openings, remains severe.