While walking this morning around the beautiful rooms of the Thyssen Museum I was wondering ‘Is there in Art history more beautiful period than the Italian Quattrocento?’ It is a pity not to be now contemplating the frescoes of The visitation by Ghirlandaio in Santa Maria Novella Church at Florence. But at least I´m here just in front of this beautiful lady portrait: Her name was Giovanna and belonged to one of the most powerful families of Florence in the Quattrocento. In 1486 she married Lorenzo Tornabuoni, a leading nobleman of the Court of Lorenzo the Magnificent. When she died, barely a year and a half after the wedding, her husband commissioned this beautiful portrait to Ghirlandaio, so he will never forget her.
It’s no secret that Italy fascinates me in many ways, one of them is definitely the creative enigma at the Renaissance Florence.
Behind the perfect silhouette of Giovanna, with her long and refined neck, a strange world full of violence was hiding, which nonetheless has housed the largest concentration of artistic talent in history.
How could this have happened in a relatively small city, decimated by the Black Plague and subjected to relentless wars of clans, which were already present in Dante’s Divine Comedy?
Thanks to Vasari we now know the harsh conditions of the children who entered as apprentices in the workshops of painters and sculptors such as the one by Andrea Verrocchio where Leonardo Da Vinci was educated. But despite these conditions, young Florentines were captivated by the art and by those who triumphed on it.