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Lorenzo and Giovanna. Timeless Art and Fleeting Lives in Renaissance Florence

Gert Jan van der Sman

22,00 €

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by Gert Jan van der Sman

publication year: 2010
paperback
170x240 mm, 220 pp.
73 colour and 15 b&w illustrations

978-88-7461-127-0 Italian
978-88-7461-128-7 English

The work that graces the cover is famous. The portrait by Domenico Ghirlandaio, now at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, “occupied a place of honour in one of the apartments of Giovanna’s husband, Lorenzo Tornabuoni, whose initial—an elegant stylized L—appears in the gold brocade pattern of her gown, at the shoulder”. However, the story behind this painting is not as well known. Lorenzo and Giovanna. Timeless Art and Fleeting Lives in Renaissance Florence is the first work to recount the entire story of two leading figures in Florence under Medici rule: Lorenzo Tornabuoni (1468–97), the gifted cousin of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and his beautiful wife, Giovanna degli Albizzi (1468–88).
Through works of art, letters, poems and archival documents, the author reconstructs the lives of these two young people, from their wedding in 1486, a celebration so lavish that it was remembered for decades, to the tragic fate that awaited both of them, for Giovanna would die in childbirth and Lorenzo would be beheaded. Their story is accompanied by images of marvellous works tied to their lives and families: paintings, frescoes, stained glass, nuptial cassoni and deschi da parto, or birth salvers, testify that, for 15th-century Florentine society, art was a fundamental reflection of social and political prestige.