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La Basilica di Santa Maria delle Carceri a Prato


by Claudio Cerretelli

publication year: 2009
17x23 cm; 80 pp.
87 colour and 4 b&w illustrations

978-88-7461-136-2 Italian

This guide by Claudio Cerretelli, an expert on local art and history and the director of the Musei Diocesani in Prato, is a detailed but handy instrument—the first of its kind—for discovering the famous Marian sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Carceri in Prato, the foundation of which can be traced back to the miraculous events of 1484 surrounding a 14th-century image of the Virgin Mary. The basilica, considered the most complete and representative Greek-cross church of the Renaissance, was designed by Giuliano da Sangallo, the favourite architect of Lorenzo the Magnificent. More than any other artist of the age, Giuliano gave form to Lorenzo’s Neoplatonic vision and his idea of architecture as the bearer of ideological and historical values (according to Alberti’s concept) and the symbol of cultural and political power. A masterpiece of symmetry and proportion, the architecture of Santa Maria delle Carceri, characterized by solemn classicism, is a compendium of the two main schools of thought of the 15th century, one tied to the legacy of Filippo Brunelleschi and the other close to Leon Battista Alberti, a school attentive to rediscovering and reinterpreting the language of antiquity.