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. Lilian H. Zirpolo. 2008.
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