Bandini Museum of Fiesole

OUTSIDE FLORENCE

The Museum Of Sacred Art of San Donnino, recently opened up, is housed in the complex adjacent to the church of Sant’Andrea which, as regards the visit to this museum, represents its natural complement.

The visit starts in an open gallery that houses a series of frescoes are displayed which, detached for preservation’ sake around 1960, come from the portico in front of the church, to which they are closely tied also from an iconographic point of view, as they represent the hagiography of the titular saint, that is Saint Andrew.

In the next three rooms, the paintings are arranged in chronological order, spaced by display cases of jewelry and ecclesiastical vestments which are pleasantly distributed around. Among the most important pictorial works is the so-called “Triptych of Saint Donnino”, the result of an historically accepted combination of works by 14th century painters, which had a separate origin: the central panel depicting the Madonna with Child is by the Master of Barberino and both the Saints on the sides and the predella are by Giovanni del Biondo. Besides, dating back to the beginning of the 1400’s is the vivid Annunciation flanked by the saints Eustachius and Anthony the Abbot. And, datable later on in the same century, are some panels attributed to the workshop of Domenico del Ghirlandaio. In addition, , attributed to Matteo Rosselli, a Florentine painter of the 1600’s, is a Madonna in Glory who offers a Rosary to Saint Domenic.

Among the vestments, altar cloths and holy vessels, the reliquaries of the two principal Saints of the area, Saint Andrew and Saint Donnino, stand out. Moreover, some chalices are worthy of note, two of them commissioned by the Medici and one, probably, donated by a member of the local Mazzinghi family who are recorded also in the architrave of the access portal to the church, which is a clear sign of the persistence of their patronage.
Inside this building are housed some important works of the Renaissance. On the left wall, dominated by a Baptism of Christ from the workshop of Ghirlandaio, is a notable fresco by the young Domenico Ghirlandaio representing the Madonna with Child enthroned between the saints Sebastian and Julius.

On the right wall, right opposite, are two works by Francesco Botticini: a lunette with God the Benedictory Father and a panel with the Madonna enthroned with Child and Saints that shows signs of the ruinous 1966 flood.

Finally, the splendid Crucifix, a painting on a panel by Giovanni di Francesco painted around the middle of the 1400’s, dominates the only nave of the church.

Short Bibliography

Museo Bandini di Fiesole. Guida alla visita del Museo. A cura di Cristina Gnoni Mavarelli. Firenze, Polistampa 2011.

Il Museo Bandini a Fiesole. Scudieri M., Firenze, Editore: Arti Grafiche Giorgi e Gambi, 1993.

1annunciazione

Annunciation – First room

Date: ca. 1340-1345
Technique and Materials: tempera and gold on a wooden panel
Size: 123 cm. x 82 cm.
Artist: Taddeo Gaddi (Florence, documented from 1330-1366)
Provenance: Company of Santa Maria della Croce al Tempio

In line with the Triptych of San Martino a Mensola, this painting comes from Santa Maria della Croce al Tempio in Florence, where it was placed on the main altar. In this work, Taddeo Gaddi goes beyond a strict adherence to Giotto’s style represented by the frescoes in Santa Croce’s Baroncelli Chapel.

4crocifisso-vergine

Christ Crucified, the Virgin, Saint John the Evangelist, The Prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah and the Virgin between two Angels – First room

Date: 1250-1260
Technique and Materials: tempera on a wooden panel
Size: 140 cm. x 110 cm.
Artist: : Master of Gagliano (Florence – third quarter of the 13th century)

The Christ is depicted following the iconography of Christus triumphans. The open eyes and impassive expression express the divinity’s strength who does not suffer but triumphs over death. In the central panel are the two mourners while at the ends of the horizontal arm are the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah. On the cyma, there is the Madonna in prayer and two angels. The anonymous artist is the Master of Gagliano, who was active in Florence in the third quarter of the 13th century.

7incoronazione-vergine-gerarchie

Coronation of the Virgin and Celestial Hierarchies – Second room

Date: 1373
Technique and Materials: tempera on a wooden panel
Size: 212 cm. x 202.5 cm.
Artist: Giovanni del Biondo (Florence, documented from 1356-1398)

In the centre of the polyptych, Christ places a crown on the Virgin’s head while a large group of saints and angels look on. Depicted in the cusps are the Crucifixion, in the centre, with the announcing Angel and the Announced Virgin in the side ones. Note the careful facial study with the strongly individualized features as well as the liveliness of the entire composition.

10trionfo-amore

Triumphs – Triumph of Love – Second room

Date: ca. 1480
Technique and Materials: tempera on a wooden panel
Size: 75.5 cm. x 89.5 cm.
Artist: Jacopo di Arcangelo, known as Jacopo del Sellaio (Florence 1442 – 1493)

In the painting, one of the four inspired by Petrarch’s Triumphs, Love is flying over a brazier set on a chariot drawn by horses whose harnesses are decorated with the Strozzi coat-of-arms, which family probably commissioned the work. The figures below—an old man, a warrior, and a young woman—allude to the fact that nobody can avoid Cupid’s arrows, which can affect people of all ages and all social classes. Following the cart are the poets who sang of love.

13trionfo-pudicizia

Triumphs – Triumph of Chastity – Second room

Date: ca. 1480
Technique and Materials: tempera on a wooden panel
Size: 76 cm. x 86.5 cm.
Artist: Jacopo di Arcangelo, known as Jacopo del Sellaio (Florence 1442 – 1493)

In this painting, inspired like the others by Petrarch’s Triumphs, Chastity is the woman standing on a gold pedestal. At her feet, Penelope and Lucretia, famous for their virtue, have taken Love prisoner and are plucking his wings. The cart pulled by two unicorns is surrounded by virtuous heroines: Virginia, Dido, and Piccarda Donati. At the head of the cortege, Chastity holds a standard with an ermine in the middle. According to the legend, this animal dies if its fur is stained.

16adorazione

Madonna in Adoration of the Child between two Angels within a Garland – Third room

Date: ca. 1495
Technique and Materials: glazed terracotta
Size: diameter 120 cm.
Artist: Andrea della Robbia (Florence 1435 – Florence 1525)

The tondo represents the Madonna in adoration of the Infant Jesus surrounded by angels in prayer. The figures are white with blue irises and eyebrows while the background is azure. The inside of the frame is adorned with cherubs. On the outside is a polychrome garland with bunches of fruit tied with yellow ribbons.

2crocifisso

Christ Crucified– First room

Date: ca. 1280-1290
Technique and Materials: tempera on a wooden panel
Size: 85 cm.
Artist: Unknown Florentine painter (last quarter of the 13th century)

The painting covered the image of the Christ Crucified by the Master of the Uffizi Crucifix no.434, and faithfully copies Christ’s features. The colours are dense and dark, the outlines very marked. This work was carried out by a painter close to Ristoro d’Arezzo, who was active in the Arezzo area between 1260 and 1290.

5crocifissione

Crucifixion with the Madonna, Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Francis – Second room

Date: 1420-1425
Technique and Materials: tempera and gold on a wooden panel
Size: 109 cm. x 46 cm.
Artist: Piero di Giovanni, known as Lorenzo Monaco (Siena 1370-75 – Florence 1425-30)

The painting depicts Christ Crucified among mourners. On the left is the Virgin, with Saint Francis at the foot of the cross embracing it. His privileged position has led to assuming that the work was commissioned by the Franciscans. In all probability, it was originally the central panel of a triptych. The work has been attributed to Lorenzo Monaco, one of the main exponents of the late Gothic style in Florence in the first quarter of the 15th century.

8sangiovanni-sanpietro

Saint John the Baptist and Saint Peter – Second room

Date: ca. 1410-1415
Technique and Materials: tempera on a wooden panel
Size: 139 cm. x 73 cm.
Artist: Giovanni di Marco, known as Giovanni Dal Ponte (Florence 1385 – Florence 1437)

The painting depicts Saint John the Baptist and Saint Peter with their iconographic attributes: the camel hide robe, processional cross, and cartouche with the inscription “Ecce Agnus Dei” for the former; the book, pallium, and priest’s stole with black crosses, and the keys of the Kingdom for the latter. Together with the one depicting Saint Paul and Saint Francis, the painting was one of the side panels of a lost polyptych.

11trionfo-tempo-fama

Triumphs – Triumphs of Time and Fame– Second room

Date: ca. 1480-1485
Technique and Materials: tempera on a wooden panel
Size: 76 cm. x 90 cm.
Artist: Jacopo di Arcangelo, known as Jacopo del Sellaio (Firenze 1442 – 1493)

The painting is one of the four inspired by Petrarch’s Triumphs. Time is depicted as a stooped old man with the usual symbols of its fleetingness: with wings and holding an hourglass while bent over and balancing on a mechanical clock. Two dogs, one black and one white, symbolize day and night; they are biting the clock’s shaft in an attempt to break it. The cart is pulled by deer, fast as the passage of time. The Triumph of Fame is represented by the illustrious men at the sides of the cart.

14effigie

Ideal Effigy of a Young Boy known as Saint Ansanus, within a Garland – Third room

Date: ca. 1500
Technique and Materials: glazed terracotta
Size: diameter 64 cm.
Artist: Andrea della Robbia (Florence 1435 – Florence 1525)
Collection: Angiolo Maria Bandini

The medallion depicts the half bust of a young boy modeled in high-relief and glazed in white. His irises are yellow whereas the pupils and eyebrows are instead a dark blue. The figure is surrounded by a garland formed by quinces, citrons, poppies, and white and azure flowers. This work was placed in the centre of the arch at the entrance to the apsidal chapel and is one of the museum’s most beautiful pieces. The iconography could refer both to an apostle and to a philosopher or a condottiere.

17visitazione

Visitation – Third room

Date: ca. 1517
Technique and Materials: glazed terracotta
Size: 82 cm. x 152 cm.
Artist: Giovanni della Robbia (Florence 1469 – Florence 1529/1530)

The lunette depicts the story of Mary’s visit to her cousin Elisabeth, at the moment when the two future mothers exchange a warm embrace. The scene is enclosed in a frame decorated with flower and fruit festoons. The work has the characteristics of Giovanni della Robbia’s mature production.

3crocifisso-diniego

Christ Crucified and Denial of Saint Peter – First room

Date: 1230-1240
Technique and Materials: tempera and silver on a wooden panel
Size: 88 cm. x 69 cm.
Artist: Master of the Uffizi Crucifix no.434, (active in Florence and Lucca in the second quarter of the 13th century)

The cross portrays Christ Crucified according to the Christus triumphans iconography, victorious over death. On the central panel is Saint Peter’s repentance after the cock’s crow. The work was covered by two layers of repainting dating back to the 13th and 18th centuries, respectively. The painting is attributed to the Master of the Crucifix, who was active in Florence and Lucca, and probably trained at Bonaventura di Berlinghiero’s workshop.

6incoronazione-vergine

Coronation of the Virgin and Celestial Hierarchies – Second room

Date: ca. 1510-1520
Technique and Materials: tempera on a wooden panel
Size: frame: 252.6 cm. x 193 cm.
Artist: Master of the Cassoni Campana, active in Florence in the second decade of the 16th century
Provenance: Church of Sant’Antonio di Vienne

The panel portrays the Virgin crowned by the Trinity and surrounded by cherubs and angel musicians and by the three archangels found below her. In the lower half are the hosts of saints, recognizable by their iconographic attributes. The frame is decorated with angels holding scrolls with inscriptions extolling the Trinity.

9sanpaolo-sanfrancesco

Saint Paul and Saint Francis – Second room

Date: ca. 1420-1425
Technique and Materials: tempera on a wooden panel
Size: 139 cm. x 73 cm.
Artist: Giovanni di Marco, known as Giovanni Dal Ponte (Florence 1385 – 1437)

The panel depicts Saint Paul and Saint Francis with their iconographic attributes: a book and sword and the instrument of his martyrdom for the former; the habit, stigmata, and a book for the latter. Together with the one depicting Saint John the Baptist and Saint Peter, the painting was one of the side panels of a lost polyptych.

Triumphs – Triumph of Eternity – Second room

Date: ca. 1480
Technique and Materials: tempera on a wooden panel
Size: 85.5 cm. x 96.5 cm.
Artist: Jacopo di Arcangelo, known as Jacopo del Sellaio (Florence 1442 – 1493)

Inspired by Petrarch’s Triumphs, the panel represents with a religious allegory the glorification of the Christian faith. Kneeling on a cart pulled by four tetramorphs (a lion, an eagle, an angel, and a winged bull), symbols of the evangelists of the Apocalypse, are the personifications of the theological virtues (Faith, Hope, and Charity). To the side of the cart are the cardinal virtues (Justice, Prudence, Fortitude, and Temperance). Above, Christ, surrounded by angels, lets the rain fall.

The Encounter of Jesus and John the Baptist as Children

Date: ca. 1500 – 1510
Technique and Materials: glazed terracotta
Workshop of: Luca Della Robbia (Florence, 1400 – Florence, 1481)
Size: 87 cm. x 162 cm.
Artist: Benedetto Buglioni (Florence1459/1460 – 1521)

The lunette recounts the episode when Jesus and John the Baptist, both children, meet in the desert. This episode, widespread in the 15th-century artistic production, is not mentioned in the Gospels but is referable to a 15th-century sacred representation entitled “The Representation of Saint John in the Desert” written by Feo Belcari and Tommaso Benci. The frame of the lunette is decorated with a broad festoon of fruit and flowers.

Address

Bandini Museum, Fiesole
Via Duprè, 1
Fiesole
Telephone: 055 5961293 (museum opening hours)
Fax: 055 59080
Website | E-mail

How to get there:
By car: from Florence, follow the signs to the Cure or the Coverciano neighborhoods, and continue towards Fiesole.
By bus: ATAF 7 line.

Opening hours

January and February: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (closed on Tuesdays);
March: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
From April to September: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.;
October: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.;
November and December: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (closed on Tuesdays).

Services

Educational section
Guided visits

INFORMATION AND BOOKINGS
Museums’ ticket office
Via Portigiani, 3 – Fiesole
Tel 055.5961293 – fax 055.5961280
To book educational activities, complete the attached form and e-mail to infomusei@comune.fiesole.fi.it

Tickets

BANDINI MUSEUM
Full ticket: € 5.00
Reduced ticket: € 3.00

ARCHAEOLOGICAL AREA AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM AND TEMPORARY EXIHIBITION
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays:
Full ticket: € 10.00
Reduced ticket: € 6.00

Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays:
(combined ticket with the Bandini Museum)
Full ticket: € 12.00
Reduced ticket: € 8.00 (from 7 to 25 years of age, over 65, groups over 10 people)
Families: € 24.00 (maximum 2 adults and 4 children under 18)