Guidalotti chapel, Santa Maria Novella, Florence

(Spanish chapel; 1348-1355)
   Used by the Dominican monks who lived in the monastery adjacent to the Church of Santa Maria Novella as their chapter house, this chapel was the burial site for members of the merchant Guidalotti family who charged Andrea da Firenze with its decoration. As they shared it with the monks, the frescoes depict scenes of significance to their order. In the center of the altar wall is a large Crucifixion flanked by the Road to Calvary and Christ in Limbo, while on the opposite entrance wall are scenes from the life of St. Peter Martyr, a 13th-century Dominican from Florence particularly venerated by the locals. One of these scenes presents the saint preaching in front of Santa Maria Novella. On the left wall is the Apotheosis of St. Thomas, also a Dominican, with the saint shown enthroned and flanked by prophets and apostles. At his feet are trampled heretics; below them are learned men from history, including Pythagoras and Euclid; above are the Virtues. On the right wall is the Way to Salvation, a fresco depicting Dominican doctrine and the activities its monks normally engage in, including preaching and converting nonbelievers. The Cathedral of Florence is prominently displayed within the composition with Pope Innocent VI, Emperor Charles IV, and Cardinal Giles Albornoz, a papal diplomat and Dominican, in front of it. Also included are black-and-white dogs, the Domini canes (God's dogs) who chase the wolves of heresy, a reference to the derivation of the name of the Dominican order. With these frescoes, the monks of Santa Maria Novella were reminded of their duties and provided with proper models to emulate.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Basilica of Santa Maria Novella — Santa Maria Novella is a church in Florence, Italy, situated just across the main railway station which shares its name. Chronologically, it is the first great basilica in Florence, and is the city s principal Dominican church.The church, the… …   Wikipedia

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  • Andrea da Firenze — (Andrea Bonaiuti; active 1346 1379)    Florentine painter, best known for his frescos in the Guidalotti Chapel at Santa Maria Novella in Florence (1348 1355), which feature scenes of significance to the Dominicans who used the room as their… …   Dictionary of Renaissance art

  • Dominican order —    The Dominican Order was established by St. Dominic in 1214 when he gathered a group of priests in the castle at Casseneuil in Languedoc owned by Count Simon IV of Montfort, who headed a crusade against the Albigensians whose religious… …   Dictionary of Renaissance art

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