Palazzo Pucci Overview
Luca Giordano is considered the main decorative Italian artist of the second half of the 17th century. In his adolescence he was already an advanced pupil of the celebrated Spaniard painter José de Ribera (1591-1652) who introduced him in his artistic circle.
In 1616, Ribera went definitively to reside in Naples. In 1618 ca, he became the entrusted painter of the Duke of Osuna, Viceroy of Naples, until his decease. In 1629, Ribera was nominated painter to the Neapolitan Court by the Duke of Alcalá, then Viceroy of Naples.
In 1692 ca., Charles II of Habsburg, King of Spain, King of Naples and of the Two Sicilies, commissioned from Luca Giordano the painting of several frescoes cycles destined for the Royal Monastery of El Escorial and, subsequently, for the Casón del Buen Retiro (palace of Buen Retiro), for the “Basilica de la Virgen de Atocha” (both of them in Madrid), for the Sacristy of the Cathedral of Toledo and for the Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Cáceres), among other paintings which were commissioned from him by high exponents of the Spanish Court. Giordano stayed in Spain for ten years. Charles II conferred him the title of Sir.
Luca Giordano decorated as well the large Library of the palace, located nearby the so-called “Gallery of Luca Giordano”. Since the beginning of the 18h century it has been believed as one of the most beautiful, vast and selected private libraries existing in Italy, currently perfectly conserved and maintained.
The first impulse to the book collection of the Riccardi family was given in the 16th century by Riccardo Romolo Riccardi. Later the Marquise Francesco Riccardi considerably augmented the collection, also thanks to the dowry of his wife, Cassandra Capponi, rich in scientific, philosophic, literary an poetry ancient books, granted by her father, Vincenzo Capponi, who was a well-known intellectual and erudite close to the circle of Galileo Galilei.
The Library, known as Biblioteca Riccardiana hosts as well a precious patrimony of manuscripts. Moreover than the collection of works and documents autographed by Petrarca, Boccaccio, Savonarola, Alberti, Ficino, Poliziano and Pico della Mirandola, it also consists of splendid illuminated codices, incunabula and a long series of collected works coming from patrician and humanistic libraries, comprising letters written by public figures and valuable historical, politic and artistic documents.
Around 1685, the Riccardi family commissioned from the Florentine architect and sculptor Giovan Battista Foggini (1652-1725) – who, in 1687, was appointed sculptor to the Grand Duke of Tuscany and a few years later was designated Court architect as well – the construction of the magnificent entrance staircase. Furthermore, some Baroque ornamentations were included to the court and to the indoors. In 1715, the front side of the palace, which façade looks on Via Larga (now Via Cavour), was considerably enlarged and seven new windows were set up on the first and on the second floor, respectively. But those remodelling work were so perfectly projected and carried out that they did not perturb at all the original design by Michelozzo.
At the beginning of the 19th century the Riccardi family, due to an important economic crisis, was obliged to auction the most important pieces from their splendid collection of artworks, leaving the palace in 1814. In 1847, the Riccardi dynasty was extinguished and the noble title went by the Manelli Galilei family. In 1865, when Florence was nominated capital of the Kingdom of Italy, the palace was converted into the site of the Ministry of the Interior.
In 1871, it became the headquarters of the Florence’s Prefecture. Now the Palazzo Medici Riccardi is also the site of the Provincial Council.
Some of it rooms, including the courtyard, the Chapel frescoed by Benozzo Gozzoli and the Gallery of Luca Giordano, can be visited. Furthermore, in the indoors has been built a wing where several wonderful ancient statues and objects are there displayed.
The Palazzo Medici Riccardi hosts frequently important temporary art exhibitions.
Currently, from the 4th March until the 24th April 2007, the palace is housing the exhibition called: “Valencia a Firenze” , which presents a selection of panel paintings created between the late Gothic to the early Renaissance -mainly Spanish, Italian and Flemish- coming from the most part from the Museum of Bellas Artes in Valencia.
The Palazzo Medici Riccardi is opened on Tuesday and Thursday, from 9 am to 7 pm. The admission ticket is: 4 euros.
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