Finally, we will look at a special door of Bernardo Buontalenti and the gallery of Federico Zuccari. The Porta delle Suppliche, the door of the petitions, can be found at the Palazzo degli Uffizi near the west wing. This door, from 1577, is quite likely the most famous one from the architectonic oeuvre of Buontalenti.
To the right of the door is a matching slot where the petition could be deposited. Behind the bust of Cosimo de Medici, the duke, is a spyhole with bars. Buontalenti aligned his design with this. The door with its frame has three parts: a rather flat frame around the door, an aedicula that clearly contrasts with the wall and a peculiar pediment at the top. Because the spyhole had to be kept open, he could not place a segment-shaped pediment above the door. Buontalenti solves this by splitting the pediment in two, and rotating each section. A pedestal is then placed in its centre with the portrait of Cosimo, allowing the spyhole to remain functional. A raised Cosimo looks down sternly on the visitor who deposits his petition. Pigeons, on the other hand, seem to respect Cosimo’s bust a bit less.
Finally, we head towards the Via Giuseppe Giusti where we pass by the Piazza della Santissima Annunziata with Brunelleschi’s hospital for abandoned babies. A bit further to the right lies the street with the home of Federico Zuccari: at the corner of Via Giuseppe Giusti (formerly Via del Mandorlo) and the Via Gino Capponi (formerly Via dell’ Orto dei Servi). Later, this artist built a palazzo at the Via Giusti on his plot.
This facade is a strange combination of different materials, ranging from rough to smoothly polished surfaces. The ground floor and the piano nobile differ starkly. The first is made of rough and unfinished materials, while the beautiful piano nobile has a very smooth finish. The rough stone blocks on the ground floor have three reliefs. These reliefs symbolise the tools of a painter, architect and sculptor. For instance, both ends of the ground floor show pilasters in the making. One part still needs to be chiselled out, while some pieces of the corner pilasters have already been smoothed out and completed. The stone masons are still long from finishing their work on the ground floor, with plenty of rough stones remaining. This also shows at the frames around the door and the window above it.
The first floor, the piano nobile, combines the three noble arts: architecture, painting and sculpting. Architecture is depicted in the broken-up pediments above the two windows. Sculpting is depicted by the two recesses flanking both windows. Finally, painting is symbolised in the centre of the facade by a large, empty, framed and plastered rectangle. Similar to the recesses not having statues, the empty rectangular frame has no fresco. After all, Federico Zuccari was a painter, like his brother Taddeo, who used a Mannerist style as can be deduced from the architecture of this facade. The palace owned by Federico Zuccari in Rome, too, shows clear Mannerist traits. For instance, the door and windows of this Roman palace have ‘mouths’ that are wide open and something resembling a human face. Zuccari’s home has been owned by the German Kunsthistorisches Institut Florenz since 1987. Do you want to read more about the home and the paintings of Zuccari? Click here.
End of day 2
Days 1 and 2: Architecture in Florence
Days 3 and 4: Sculpture in Florence
Days 5 and 6: Painting in Florence