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Stefano Filipponi, Eleonora Mazzocchi, Ludovica Sebregondi

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edited by Stefano Filipponi, Eleonora Mazzocchi, Ludovica Sebregondi

paperback
165 × 230 mm, 200 pp.
166 colour illustrations

isbn 978-88-7461-307-6 Italian
isbn 978-88-7461-308-3 English

The Istituto degli Innocenti evokes the Renaissance and its new conception of humankind. In the early 15th century, with great vision the Arte della Seta – the Silkweavers’ Guild – provided financial support to build the Ospedale degli Innocenti, in order to welcome, care for, and protect abandoned and impoverished children.

Through the profound relationship between artwork, architecture and documentary memory, the Museo degli Innocenti recounts the uniqueness of this place, which from 1445 began to work ceaselessly to take in children and mothers, gradually adapting to and often portending the innovations that arose in caring for little ones, confi rming its status as a lay and public institution over the centuries. The museum offers three itineraries divided by subject (history, architecture, art), that, by juxtaposing different viewpoints, build a unitary narrative that will allow visitors to discover the complexity of the legacy of the Innocenti. The history of the institution, from its foundation up to today, is illustrated in the underground area, uniting a reconstruction of the general background of charitable work with a description of everyday life in the Ospedale. This is also presented through about 100 biographies of children taken into the Innocenti over the centuries. The path devoted to architecture reconstructs the changes that transformed Brunelleschi’s “pulcherrimum aedificium” into today’s monumental complex. The different construction phases are set in relation to changes in the way charitable work was handled, and the art that adorned the building over the centuries is also presented here.

The Galleria over the Loggia, which has hosted the museum since 1971, displays the most significant works of art, highlighting not only their artistic value but also their profound ties with the history of the institution. The last part of this path, in the ancient Coretto delle Balie, is devoted to works made for the private devotion of the ‘family’ of the Ospedale and for its church.