Walk-through of Gallery 5

by Mary Donekian, Docent, 2/8/2000

This room is mainly Renaissance and mainly to do with the De Medicis, which was (initially) a wealthy banking family in Florence. At that time they were in awe with the ancient Greek and Roman culture and sculpture. The upper class started to learn the Greek and Latin languages. Mathematics came into the painting compositions (perspective). Gone were the flat paintings of the Gothic style.

The Virgin & Child
This was part of an altar piece, by Domenico Puligo. Painted in 1522 in the style of various great masters (e.g. Raphael). The Saint on the left is a Benedictine monk. He holds a palm leaf, which signifies martyrdom. The Saint on the right has 2 palm leaves. He is St. Quentin.
The colors are very luminous; this was the painter's trademark. The painting shows a "sacred conversation". i.e. Mary with 2 Saints, asking her to pray for them.

Game of Football
This game was played by 27 people. It was played with fists and feet, but only from January till March. Painted by Rafaelo Ghalterotti.

Portrait of a Cardinal
When John Ringling bought this painting, it had a black background. They cleaned it in 1961 and all the detail came out. He was made a Cardinal by Pope Julius II, who was a Medici. The painter was a friend of Michelangelo, who occasionally did some sketches for him.

Madonna with Child
Mary Magdalene gives a jar with ointment to Jesus. She is painted in brown colors to show that she is repenting. This painting is an example of Mannerism

Christ Child Asleep
Painting hangs over "the Throne". On the left is Mary, reading a book, and Joseph. It is probably inspired by "The Sleeping Cupid" by Caravaggio. There are 3 copies of this painting. The one in Dijon (France) is signed by Schedoni. The other 2 are probably painted by his pupils, after his death.

Picture of a Lady, reading a book
This is a typical Renaissance painting. The lady shows that she can read and that therefore she is rich. She can afford special education, which was unusual for girls. But a third of all men were educated then. Painted by Andrea del Brescianino.

Portrait of a youth in the Medici Family
Painting by Franseso Salvati. He is holding a helmet with the laurel crest of the Medicis (signifies life, birth, death and rebirth). The cardinal of the portrait opposite in the room brought this painter to Rome and employed him.

The Medici Madonna
Painting by Benedetto Pagni. He studied under Raphael. This is a typical example of Mannerism. It is idealized beauty. Nothing is grotesque, it has to be beautiful. The painter made this painting to show how good he was and incorporated items, which were relevant to the Medicis, in the hope that they would buy this painting. It was not a commission.
The child's torso is elongated. It is made to look like a child's sculpture, done by Michelangelo, which was in the possession of the Medici family, so they could probably recognize this style.
The Madonna has a long neck and the total body looks too long. The other lady is offering the emblems of the Medici family to the Madonna. She is Flora and represents Florence (names are not related). There is a ducal crown and a tiara, which belongs to Catharene de Medici. The 6 balls are the coat of arm of the Medicis. The lilies represent purity (Madonna). It is also am symbol for Florence and the Annunciation. When the Duke (Medici) saw the painting, he bought it.

The Throne ("Trono")
By Bacci d'Agnolo. It was carved in 1510 and made of walnut. Originally these things were called "day beds". In those times they had benches next to a bed in the bedroom, where people could sit on or visitors sat on when they visited the sick. They were also used for taking a siesta. The lady of the house would not sleep in the bed then, but take a pillow and blanket from the box and sleep on the bench.
This particular bench is such a show piece, that is was probably not set in the bedroom, but in the living area. Honored guests would sit on it. It was not placed against a wall, but in the middle of a room and there would be paintings hanging on the back. It probably had pillows and blankets inside.

Philippo Strozzi was to marry a Medici girl and he ordered this piece of furniture for the nuptial. The Strozzi family (lived in Florence) and the Medici family did not like each other. Philippo Strozzi's father lived in exile. The seat has 2 coats of arms of both families, carved on it. The crescents for the Strozzi family and the 7 balls for the Medicis. The symbol of the Strozzi father was a falcon and is carved under the arm rest. A falcon means: he will return. However, the father did not return, he drowned in the river a few years later.

John Ringling bought "The Throne" from Lord Hallford in England in 1926. Hallford needed money to pay his taxes. The jars on top came from the Gavet collection. They are Renaissance and had probably extracts in them.