The Cinquecento in Florence

By Abigail Ramos (Syracuse University)

Ratto delle Sabine


Here in “The Cinquecento in Florence,” located inside the Palazzo Strozzi, the beauty of the Renaissance is put in display with sculptures and paintings from both the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, two contrasting ideas that Florentines cared about at the time of radical change and the pouring out of ideas. The Cinquecento refers to the 15th century, the period where the Renaissance was rapidly progressing, most prominent in the world of art. In this exhibit, art commissioned by the Medici, along with art for religious and political purposes are put in one place to showcase the aesthetics of Florentine art during one of the most important periods in the city’s history.

The exhibit starts off with a restored version of Michelangelo’s River God in a spotlight, and then directly behind stands Andrea Del Sarto’s rendition of Lamentation Over Dead Christ. With sculptures such as Mercury (pictured above) and the Ratto delle Sabine presented in this exquisite exhibit, the aesthetics of Renaissance art are a sight to behold. Along with the intricate life-sized sculpture of Christ on the cross, this exhibit clearly shows the inspiration that artists looked to during the cinquecento.

When I was choosing the location for my study abroad semester, Florence became the place that really stood out for me because it was the birthplace of the Renaissance. Going around the streets, especially by Santa Maria del Fiore and the Duomo, you can really see the extravagance and beauty that the Renaissance era decorated Florence with. Looking around this exhibit, I couldn’t help but feel this sense of awe. Having lived in Florence for a month now, I had thought that the sculptures and art would be something that I would get used to, like street art and big, modern buildings back in the United States. But something about the history and background of these art pieces presented in the exhibit make you realize that you’re looking at something with meaning. While aesthetics are a part of it, the beauty comes from the artist’s mind whilst creating it, and it makes you really stop and think (like I did) about how things as beautiful as this structured the way we think about beauty and the way that art continued to progress following this era of growth.

The Cinquecentro in Florence opened last week and will be open until January 2018. I highly recommend checking this exhibit out; there will be a lot of breathtaking pieces to see, and a lot of art to simply admire.

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