Ghirlandaio and the Tornabuoni chapel VIII

The groined vaults, the wall by the altar and the altarpiece

The Tornabuoni Chapel      Bottom view      Zoom in      Stained -glass window

Tornabuoni Chapel  Santa Maria Novella
photos: Diego Delso, delso.photoSelim Huard; window: Diotime; view: Abrey82

The top of the four sections of the groined vaults show the evangelists. The wall with the altar has three stained glass windows. At the bottom, Giovanni can be seen to the left of the window and his wife to the right. Above this on the right is John; painted in the desert with an Annunciation on the left. The wall ends with two stories from the life of Dominicus, which is an obvious choice in this main Dominican church. All the way up in the lunette is the Coronation of the Virgin.

Vaults bottom view
John     Luke    Mark     Matthew

Ghirlandaio Vaults Tornabuoni chapel
photos: Diego Delso, delso.phot

The rear wall has three stained glass windows designed by Ghirlandaio. They show events from the life of Mary and St. Dominic. The Assumption of Mary can be seen in the centre, all the way at the top (for more images of the windows, please see Wikipedia).

   Stained -glass window      Layout of the windows 

Tornabuoni chapel Stained -glass windows

“The Tornabuoni Altarpiece (Italian – Pala Tornabuoni) is a tempera on panel painting by Domenico Ghirlandaio and his studio as the high altarpiece for the Tornabuoni Chapel in Santa Maria Novella. It was begun around 1490 and completed around 1498, four years after the painter’s death. It is now split between several museums, with the central panel and two others now in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich.” Source: Wikipedia

Ghirlandaio 'Pala Tornabuoni' detail

Pala Tornabuoni        Reconstruction 

Ghirlandaio 'Pala Tornabuoni'

The opening of the Tornabuoni Chapel to the public

The chapel was painted between 1486 and 1490, much to the satisfaction of the Tornabuoni. Such an immense task was only possible if the artist had a large studio and the help of his brothers, brother-in-law, assistants and several pupils (in this case even the young Michelangelo). The Ricci family was not quite as satisfied. On the contrary, they were shocked when the chapel was opened to the public. According to them, Giovanni Tornabuoni had dishonored agreements on the family coat of arms when he had bought the rights for them.

“And a fine jest it was at the opening of the chapel, for these Ricci looked for their arms with much ado, and finally, not being able to find them, went off to the Tribunal of Eight, contract in hand. Whereupon the Tornabuoni showed that these arms had been placed in the most conspicuous and most honourable part of the work; and although the others exclaimed that they were invisible, they were told that they were in the wrong, and that they must be content, since the Tornabuoni had caused them to be placed in so honourable a position as the neighbourhood of the most Holy Sacrament.” Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the Artists

Continuation Florence day 5; Brancacci chapel (Santa Maria del Carmine) I