Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Renaissance Humanism Redux

Nanni Di Banco (c.1380/1385-1421) - I quattro santi coronati (Four "Crowned" Martyred Saints) (c.1409-1416), Collection of Orsanmichele, Florence

Currently on display at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Originally created for the exterior of Orsanmichele in Florence, this work represents the highest achievement of 15th-century Florentine sculpture. During the Renaissance, Orsanmichele, one of the most important though less well-known Renaissance structures, functioned both as a church and a grain storage and market facility; the Florentine trade guilds chose it as the site for statues of their patron saints. Since 1984 the statues have been undergoing much-needed restoration. The four heads of these saints are modeled on 3rd c. C.E. Roman marble portrait busts, similar to those now on display at the Dresden antique sculpture gallery.

Source: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.


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