We went up to Firenze yesterday morning on the 0930 Express – its an 90 minute ride and arriving before noon gave us time to visit two museums, do some shopping, have lunch and just take a Sunday stroll through town gelato in hand. As we arrived in the station the bells of Santa Maria Nouvella and a few other churches were pealing forth, if not in celebration of our arrival than perhaps for Italy’s Women’s Day. This meant that as the day progressed, much to her delight, our friend Simonetta was admitted free to the museums we visited.
Our main purpose was to visit the Museo di San Marco and more particularly their glorious store of paintings by Beato Angelico. His work adorned not only the church and chapels but the cells of the monks who once lived in the convent. Though all of his works have a spiritual beauty, and his angels are particularly wonderful, I was immediately taken with this little painting – its only 19 x 50 cm.Il Sposalizio della Vergine (The Marriage of the Virgin) is a predella or one of a series of paintings running along the frame at the bottom of an altarpiece. They were meant to illustrate events in the life of the Saint honoured – in this case the main altarpiece celebrated the Coronation of the Virgin. One of the things that struck me about it was how it resembled middle-eastern wedding celebrations. Particularly the segregation of men from the women and children – though that may have also been a Medieval tradition.
09 marzo – Santa Caterina di Bologna