Terracotta basrelief Ospedale degli Innocenti

Terracotta basrelief Ospedale degli Innocenti

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Glazed terra cotta reliefs of children by the Della Robbia school.
Ospedale degli Innocenti, Piazza della Santissima Annunziata in Firenze.

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110,00 €



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Thickness 1.18 in 3 cm
Weight 22.05 lbs 10 Kg
Maximum diameter 11.81 in 30 cm
Material Maiolica

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The Ospedale degli Innocenti (Italian pronunciation: [ospeˈdaːle deʎʎ innoˈtʃɛnti]; 'Hospital of the Innocents', also known in old Tuscan dialect as the Spedale degli Innocenti) is a historical building in Florence, Italy. Designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, who received the commission in 1419 from the Arte della Seta. It was originally a children's orphanage. It is regarded as a notable example of early Italian Renaissance architecture. The hospital, which features a nine bay loggia facing the Piazza SS. Annunziata, was built and managed by the "Arte della Seta" or Silk Guild of Florence. That guild was one of the wealthiest in the city and, like most guilds, took upon itself philanthropic duties.

The façade is made up of nine semicircular arches springing from columns of the Composite order. The semicircular windows brings the building down, earthbound and is a revival of the classical style, no longer a pointed arch. In the spandrels of the arches there are glazed blue terracotta roundels with reliefs of babies designed by Andrea della Robbia suggesting the function of the building. There is an emphasis on the horizontal because the building is longer than it is tall. Above each semicircular arch is a tabernacle window (a rectangular window with a triangular pediment on the top).

The clean and clear sense of proportion is reflected in the building. The height of the columns is the same width of the intercolumniation and the width of the arcade is equal to the height of the column, making each bay a cube. The simple proportions of the building reflect a new age, of secular education and a sense of great order and clarity. Also half the height of the column is the height of the entablature, which is appropriate for a clear minded society.

Children were sometimes abandoned in a basin which was located at the front portico. However, this basin was removed in 1660 and replaced by a wheel for secret refuge. There was a door with a special rotating horizontal wheel that brought the baby into the building without the parent being seen. This allowed people to leave their babies, anonymously, to be cared for by the orphanage. This system was in operation until the hospital's closure in 1875. Today the building houses a small museum of Renaissance art with works by Luca della Robbia, Sandro Botticelli, Piero di Cosimo and Adoration of the Magi by Domenico Ghirlandaio.


 

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