Palazzo Grifoni Budini Gattai


The Palazzo Grifoni on the Piazza Santissima Annunziata is an outstanding example of Florentine palace architecture of the Renaissance. Ugolino Grifoni, secretary of the Grand-Duke of Tuscany Cosimo I, commissioned the architect Bartolomeo Ammannati to build it between 1561 and 1564. The Budini Gattai family, which acquired the building in 1890, then proceeded to a total renovation of its interior. The lavishly decorated and frescoed rooms on the piano nobile are among the most important, and at the same time best preserved, examples of upper-middleclass interior decoration in Florence at the turn of the century. It was to these magnificent rooms in the Palazzo Grifoni that the Photo Library of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut was transferred in January 2010. Since the rooms in question have protected status as historic monuments, it was paramount that the facilities required by a modern research institute should not be placed directly in contact with either the painted floors or the upholstered and frescoed walls. So the installations ‘float’ as it were over a multi-layered double floor, which at the same time comprises all the necessary cabling and structure for the fixture of the shelf units. This means that the whole Photo Library could be fitted into its new home while preserving the building’s historic appearance and at the same time retaining the library’s traditional open-shelf system. In addition, the Photo Library’s new home means it can be further developed into a research institute for the history and promotion of image-generating technologies. The photographic campaign conducted before the Photo Library moved into its new home comprehensively documents for the first time the decoration of the Budini Gattai apartments and at the same time places them at the centre of scientific interest. The first research on these rooms has already been begun by Tamara Hufschmidt, to whom we would like to dedicate this online exhibition.

Costanza Caraffa

© KHI in Florence | 04.12.2022 14:13:47