(b. 1601, Firenze, d. 1661, Innsbruck)

View of the south wall

Palazzo Pitti, Florence

The picture shows the south wall of the Salone Terreno (Room of Giovanni da San Giovanni) on the ground floor of the Palazzo Pitti.

The Palazzo Pitti in Florence, purchased from the Pitti family by the wife of Duke CosimoI de' Medici in 1549 and renovated and expanded by Bartolommeo Ammanati, served as a residence of royal proportions for roughly 350 years. It was occupied by the dynasties of the Medici, the Habsburgs, and finally the Savoyards, and subjected to constant adaptations and alterations. Intensive use by ruling families resulted in the lavish decoration of all floors. Fresco painters from three centuries contributed to the fixed decor of the public rooms and living quarters. Of its numerous apartments two suites of rooms stand out because of their decoration, function and size. These took their present form under Grand Duke Ferdinando II de' Medici (1610-1670), and for the most part they were spared later encroachments owing to their high-quality frescoes. These are the reception rooms in the left (north) wing used by Ferdinando II. The rooms on the cooler ground floor, directly connected with the Boboli Gardens by way of a loggia and a terrace, served him as a summer apartment (Appartamento d'Estate); his winter quarters (Appartamento d'Inverno), reached by way of a large staircase and capable of being heated, lie directly above these on the piano nobile.

Several different painters worked on the decoration of the large hall on the ground floor (Salone Terreno). Its virtuoso wealth of forms, the scenographic bravura of its architectural painting, and its strikingly original programmatic concept, makes the room an outstanding example of seventeenth-century Florentine painting, standing as it does between tradition and modernism. The east wall of the Salone and the ceiling was painted by Giovanni da San Giovanni in 1635-36, the south wall by Cecco Bravo in 1638, the west wall by Ottavio Vannini in 1639-41, and the north wall by Francesco Furini in 1640-42.

The wall paintings deal with Lorenzo de' Medici and the return of the Golden Age under his rule. Cecco Bravo's frescoes present Lorenzo, who is always shown in fifteenth-century costume, as protector of the Muses and Apollo and as a bringer of peace.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.