An especially fine 1830s goauche view of Florence, taken from the heart of the city.
This beautiful view captures Florence during the twilight of its days as the national capital of the famed Duchy of Tuscany. The city is pictured from a relatively low vantage point, looking eastwards over the Piazza della Signoria, so providing an unusually intimate view of the city, its architectural wonders and its street life. The view focuses on the Piazza, which had been, under various names, the heart of the city since Roman times. The large crenelated building dominating the square is the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence's City Hall, built in stages beginning in 1299. The Palazzo contains numerous frescos of international renown as well as the Stanza del Guardaroba, which features 53 painted panels of maps by Ignazio Danti, done between 1563 and 1574, and which are of enduring academic interest.
The Piazza della Signoria itself features numerous Renaissance statues of great fame, The Fountain of Neptune by Bartolomeo Ammannati (1575), a contemporary copy of Michelangelo's David, Benevenuto Cellni's Perseus with the Head of Medusa (1554) and the bronze equestrian statue of Cosimo I by Giambologna (1594), amongst others. These monuments are still present today in the square. To the right of the Palazzo Vecchio is the Loggia dei Lanzi, built in 1342, it is connected to the Uffizi Gallery, one of the oldest and finest art museums in the World.
In the distance, to the left, is the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore ("Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower"), commonly called Il Duomo. Commenced in 1296 in the Gothic manner of Arnolfo di Cambio, the great dome (a masterpiece of engineering) was added by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1436. To the left of the Basilica is Giotto's Campanile, designed by the great master in the early 14th century. The top of Battistero di San Giovanni, the Baptistery is visible. This edifice features the famous bronze 'Gates of Paradise' doors made by Lorenzo Ghiberti in the early 15th Century.
The present view is undated, however, the scene within the Piazza della Signoria, featuring people congregating around a flag, gives a clue as to its dating. The flag in question is composed of two horizontal red bands with a white band in between. This was the flag of the Duchy of Tuscany between 1815 and 1840. In 1840, the flag was altered to include a large coat of arms. The view thus predates 1840, and based on style, comes from the latter part of the period in which the flag was in use.
This is an exceptionally fine and detailed view of Florence, with fascinating vignettes of urban life and architectural details.