Giuliano da Sangallo’s Surface Architecture

Giuliano da Sangallo in photography

The flat, but sharply articulated façade of the Palazzo Gondi, situated immediately behind the Palazzo Vecchio in the Piazza San Firenze, is unthinkable outside the canon of the Florentine Early Renaissance, no less than the Sacristy of the church of Santo Spirito, or the Villa Medici, visible from afar, at Poggio a Caiano, which Sangallo designed for one of his most important patrons, Lorenzo the Magnificent. Traces of his prototypical style can also be found elsewhere. It determined for example the rigorous Renaissance architecture of Santa Maria delle Carceri in Prato, commissioned by Lorenzo de‘ Medici and erected by Sangallo between 1487 and 1495; this magnificent church continues to this day to form an architectural counterpoint to Frederick II’s adjacent medieval fortress. Equally clear-cut, equally prominent, is the dome of the pilgrimage church in Loreto (1499/1500), which pilgrims can glimpse from afar as they journey towards their goal.
Yet it was only towards the end of the nineteenth century that photographic images of selected works of the Florentine architect began to be offered for sale to an interested public by the major photographic studios of the day such as Alinari or Brogi – coinciding with the dawn of scholarly interest in Sangallo’s architecture. The Alinari catalogue of 1881 thus lists photographs of Santa Maria delle Carceri in Prato, later (1896) photographs of the Palazzo Gondi and the Villa Medici in Poggio a Caiano, while the Brogi catalogue of 1907 cites the first recorded photo of the Palazzo Serristori–Cocchi in Florence, though this still bears an attribution to Baccio d’Agnolo in its caption. In the following years the photographic repertoire offered to the public was gradually supplemented with further images of works of the Florentine architect. Numerous of these early photographs entered the holdings of the Photothek, where they continue to be made available to scholars as study materials, together with more recent images.

Florence, Palazzo Gondi. Photo: Hilde Lotz-Bauer, before 1943, silver gelatin print, 18,3 x 23,9 cm, inv. no. 382322

Florence, Santo Spirito, vestibule. Photo: Hilde Lotz-Bauer, before 1943, silver gelatin print, 16,6 x 11,8 cm, inv. no. 382380

Florence, Santo Spirito, sacristy. Photo: Cristian Ceccanti, 2014, digital photograph, inv. no. 614472

Poggio a Caiano (Prato), Medici villa. Photo: Fratelli Alinari, before 1896, silver gelatin print, 19,4 x 24,9 cm, inv. no. 57022

Poggio a Caiano (Prato), Medici villa. Photo: Ivo Bazzecchi, before 1995, silver gelatin print, 18 x 23,1 cm, inv. no. 540081

Prato, Santa Maria delle Carceri. Photo: Fratelli Alinari, before 1911, albumen print, 25,6 x 18,5 cm, inv. no. 12422

Loreto, Sanctuary of the Holy House. Photo: Fratelli Alinari, around 1900, albumen print, 17,9 x 22,4-22,6 cm, inv. no. 131035

Florence, Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi, former Cestello. Photo: Fratelli Alinari, around 1900, albumen print, 19,7 x 24,9 cm, inv. no. 12589

Florence, Santa Maria Novella, the Gondi Chapel. Photo: Studio Brogi, around 1920/1930, silver gelatin print, 19,5 x 25 cm, inv. no. 66067

Pistoia, Basilica of the Madonna dell’Umiltà. Photo: Fratelli Alinari, before 1905, albumen print, 25,4 x 19,3 cm, inv. no. 5625

Florence, Palazzo Cocchi Serristori. Photo: Studio Brogi, around 1990, albumen print, 25,4 x 19,7 cm, inv. no. 10677 (bequest of Cornelius von Fabricy)

Florence, Palazzo Cocchi Serristori. Photo: Ivo Bazzecchi, before 1990, silver gelatin print, 17,9 x 17,8 cm, inv. no. 541469

© KHI in Florence | 09.03.2021 12:04:39