From Taboo to Treasure: Niccolò Machiavelli in Santa Croce

Dubbed the “Temple of Italian Glories,” Santa Croce shelters a pantheon of “secular saints.” These civic legends, like their divine counterparts, endured trials for the sake of humankind, and now eternally inhabit a special place in our hearts and minds. One such figure is Niccolò Machiavelli, who suffered tribulations during his prolific life and then … More From Taboo to Treasure: Niccolò Machiavelli in Santa Croce

Vasari and Buonarroti Patronage in Santa Croce

The unveiling of Giorgio Vasari’s (1511–74) newly restored Christ Carrying the Cross (1568–72) marks the conclusion of the campaign “In the Name of Michelangelo” to clean and conserve both Vasari’s painting and the monument to Michelangelo Buonarroti that stands next to it in Santa Croce’s right aisle. Together, the two works comprise the Buonarroti Chapel, whose patron was … More Vasari and Buonarroti Patronage in Santa Croce

“So near to death, so far from God” – Michelangelo

Critics who have studied Michelangelo’s Medici Sacristy in San Lorenzo have observed that as your eye moves upwards from the floor to the coffered domed ceiling one journeys from corporeal, earthbound figures into stylized abstract architectural forms which symbolize the celestial. The contrasting notion of the active life versus the contemplative life is generally accepted … More “So near to death, so far from God” – Michelangelo

Michelangelo, Vasari and their Women

Michelangelo’s exceptional representations of women left lasting repercussions even after his death in 1564 at the age of 89. Although he is best known for his images of David, Christ and Adam, Michelangelo’s artistic repertoire also pioneered innovative depictions of the female form. Michelangelo’s greatest compendium of female imagery was the Sistine chapel ceiling, where … More Michelangelo, Vasari and their Women

Hiding in Plain Sight: Vasari and Michelangelo at Santa Croce

Several years ago, while conducting research on the religious art of Italian Renaissance painter, architect, and author, Giorgio Vasari (1511-74), I was both surprised and delighted to discover a previously unknown portrait of Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) at the far left edge of Vasari’s painting depicting Christ Carrying the Cross (1568-72) in Santa Croce. The large … More Hiding in Plain Sight: Vasari and Michelangelo at Santa Croce

L’anima della materia

  Infinite narrazioni hanno trovato, nel corso dei secoli un loro spazio nel Tempio di Santa Croce, facendo di  questa chiesa un’enciclopedia di storie e di racconti. Tra queste narrazioni, la grande basilica francescana conserva grandi cicli pittorici dedicati alla Vergine, straordinari affreschi dove la natività è tema centrale, punto d’arrivo e di partenza di … More L’anima della materia

Giuseppe Castiglione. Jesuit and Painter in the Celestial Empire

Giuseppe Castiglione (Milan 1688-Bejiing 1766) was an Italian Jesuit who served as court painter to three Chinese emperors of Qing Dynasty (Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong). In 2015 we need to re-identify Giuseppe Castiglione, especially for the non-Chinese visitors to the Santa Croce virtual exhibition. Castiglione was a Jesuit low in the hierarchy of the Society … More Giuseppe Castiglione. Jesuit and Painter in the Celestial Empire

Nov. 6, 1966 “Cimabue moriva [Cimabue was Dying]”

Today, on the 49th anniversary of the Flood, we found this moving letter of the restorer Umberto Baldini*, who accounts hour by hour the tragic events of November 6th, 1966, as Cimabue’s  Crucifix was about to be lost forever. Dear Baldini, they tell me that we are losing the Crucifix of Cimabue; apparently the head … More Nov. 6, 1966 “Cimabue moriva [Cimabue was Dying]”

In the Language of the Other: Giuseppe Castiglione, a Jesuit Painter in the 17th Century China

He picked up his things and moved fearlessly across the world. Unsure of what he would find, he desired to share his thoughts and beliefs. Surprisingly, the foreign culture impacted every aspect of his life – from his name to his art. Born in Milan, Italy, Giuseppe Castiglione (1688 – 1766), better known as Lang … More In the Language of the Other: Giuseppe Castiglione, a Jesuit Painter in the 17th Century China