The Chapels at Santa Maria Novella
- The Cappella di Filippo Strozzi is located to the right of the main Altar. It houses a series of frescoes by Filippino Lippi (from the ending of the 15th century to the early 16th century) representing the life of “L’Apostolo Filippo” and “L’Apostolo Giacomo”; “S. Filippo conduce il Drago al Tempio di Ieropoli “; the lunette representing “La Crocifissione di S. Filippo”; “S. Giovanni Evangelista Resuscita Druisiana”; the lunette depicting “La Tortura di S. Giovanni Evangelista”. At the back of the altar is the impressing black marble sepulchre of Filippo Strozzi with an outstanding sculpture by Benedetto da Maiano (1441).
It is said that this Chapel was once the place where Giovanni Boccaccio started to write the first tale of the “Decameron” (1349 -1351).
- The Cappella Tornabuoni (former the Main Chapel) is situated in the choir and hosts a series of celebrated paintings by Domenico Ghirlandaio (15th century).The subjects of the frescoes are related to some episodes of the life of the Holy Virgin, S. Giovanni Battista, S. Domenico and S. Pietro. As well as: “L’Annunciazione”; “L’Arrivo dei Magi”; “La Strage degli Innocenti”; the “Assunzione”; “Il Battesimo di Cristo” and “La Danza di Salomè”; in the enormous painting of “L’Angelo che appare a Zaccaria e lo rende muto” are included several illustrious personalities of that age and all the members of the Tornabuoni’s family. Moreover, there are the portraits of: Giovanni Tornabuoni and his wife Lucrezia, Alessio Baldovinetti, Bastiano Mainardi, Davide Ghirlandaio (the artist’s brother) and his self portrait. The vault is covered with a representation of “ I Quattro Evangelisti”.
The stained glass windows are by Il Bidello (1492, by-name of Alessandro Agolanti) created on drawings by Domenico Ghirlandaio.
- The Cappella Gondi is the first chapel on the left side of the main Altar and was built by Giovanni da Sangalo (early 16th century). It houses the celebrated wooden full size “Crucifix” (160 cm) by Filippo Brunelleschi (15th century). The polychrome marble ornamentation of the Chapel is as well by Giovanni da Sangalo.
- The Cappella Strozzi di Mantova is located at the end of the left transept. It was frescoed by Nardo di Cione between 1350 and 1357. The subject of the frescoes is based on the “Divina Commedia” and they are an allegory of The Hell, The Purgatory and The Paradise. A portrait of Dante Alighieri is included too. The altarpiece “Il Redentore con Madonna e Santi” was created by Orcagna (by-name of Andrea di Cione, brother of Nardo). The large and beautiful stained glass window is based on a drawing by the Cione brothers.
- The Cappella Della Pura is nearby to the north part of the “Old Cemetery”. It was built in 1474 with Renaissance pillars. In the first half of the 19th century the prestigious architect Gaetano Baccani restored it. The Chapel houses a lunette with a fresco from the 14th century which represents “La Madonna col Bambino e S. Caterina” and a wooden “Crucifix” by Baccio da Montelupo (1500).
- The Cappella Rucellai is situated at the end of the right aisle. It hosts: the impressing bronze sepulchre of Paolo Rucellai by Lorenzo Ghiberti (1425); the marble sculpture “La Madonna col Bambino” by Nino Pisano (1315 ca. -1368); the remnants of some frescoes by the Maestro di Santa Cecilia (early 14th century) and the panel “Il Martirio di S. Caterina” by Giuliano Bugiardini (1475-1554).
- The Cappella Bardi is the second one to the right of the apse. It houses several frescoes assigned to Spinello Aretino (1350 ca.-1410); a pillar with a high-relieve representing “S. Gregorio benedice Riccardo Bardi” and on the altar: the “Madonna del Rosario” by Giorgio Vasari (1568).
- The Cappella dell’Annunciazione was constructed in 1380 in the former Sacristy on commission of the Cavalcanti family. It hosts: the huge “Crocefisso con la Madonna e S. Giovanni Evangelista” by Giotto (the Christian name of Giotto di Bondone, 1267 ca.- 1337); a glazed terracotta and a marble holy water stoup by Giovanni Della Robbia (1498). The wonderful cupboards were designed by Bernardo Buontalenti (1531-1608). The walls paintings are attributed to Giorgio Vasari and to other Florentine painters of his age. The great window in Gothic style comes from the last decade of the 14th century and is based on a drawing by Niccolò di Pietro Gerini.
- The Cappellone degli Spagnoli (The “Spanish Chapel”) is situated in the former Chapter Hall of the Basilica. Its construction began in 1344 and ended in 1355. The Chapel is located at the north side of the ChiostroVerde.
The Chapel was called “Cappellone degli Spagnoli” due to the fact that the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de Medici, conceded it to his wife, Leonor Álvarez de Toledo y Osorio, and she used to meet there the aristocrats and notables of the Spanish Kingdom who resided in Florence or eventually came to the capital city of Tuscany.
Within the Chapel is enclosed the small “Cappella del Santissimo Sacramento”.
The “Cappellone degli Spagnoli” houses: a series of frescoes by Andrea Bonaiuti (14th century). The largest one represents “L’Allegoria della Chiesa Attiva e Trionfante e dell’Ordine Domenicana”. The fresco includes the portraits of: Pope Benedetto IX, the Cardinal Niccolò Albertini, the Count Guido di Poppi, the architect Arnolfo di Cambio, and the poet Petrarca. Other frescoes depict episodes of the life of Jesus and S. Peter, as well as “Il Trionfo di S. Tommaso” and “L’Allegoria delle Scienze”. The five poliptychs on the altar representing “La Madonna in Trono col Bambino e Quattro Santi” are by Bernardo Daddi (1344).
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The Cathedrals : Basilica di Santa Maria Novella
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