Flo on the Go- Santa Felicita

February 28th, 2018toFebruary 28th, 2019

by Madison Agnew (California State University)

After being hidden from the public for restoration, the Deposition from the Cross by Pontormo will be revealed on March 28th at 18:00.

As on of the most popular stories shown through Renaissance art, the Deposition from the Cross can portray feelings of love, pain, and grieving. The recent completion of the restoration of The Deposition from the Cross by Pontormo, located in the Capon Chapel in the church of Santa Felicita, Florence, is a unique display of this story, famous for using brilliant colors and an abstract sense of space. This piece is widely considered as Pontormo’s surviving masterpiece, dating back to 1528.

To understand the significance and appreciate any piece for its true historical value, you need to know a few pieces of the puzzle. Some of these pieces include a little about the artist, the relevance to the time period, the story depicted, and it’s location.

I’ll give you a little background on the artist, Jacopo Pontormo. Pontormo was an Italian Mannerist painter and portraitist from Florence. After staying with Leonardo da Vinci, Mariotto Albertinelli, Pierro di Cosimo, and Andrea del Sarto, it is not surprising he would become a famous painter. He was inspired by the works of Michelangelo, shown with the torsion and positioning of Christ. Pontormo added a self-portrait to this piece, located at the far right dressed in yellow with a green headpiece.

The time period, ending the Renaissance art movement and beginning the Mannerist Style, began with Pontormo’s works. Renaissance works are characterized by using a strong sense of perspective and realism, made to depict stories from the bible as relatable. Pontormo, however, creates an ambiguous environment that moves away from realism, showing the figures almost floating in an abstract sense of space. This becomes a founding characteristic of the Mannerist style. For example, the feet of those lowering Christ seem to barely be touching the ground, although they should be struggling to carry a man.

The church, Santa Felicita, is a Roman Catholic church close to the Ponte Vecchio. This church has gone through many changes, beginning in the 4th or early 5th century. One of the unique elements of this church still visible today is the Vasari Corridor passing in front of the main entrance. This corridor, used by the Medici family to pass from Palazzo Vecchio to Pitti Palace, allowed the Medici family to listen to mass inside without being seen by the people. The chapel that houses the masterpiece by Pontormo was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and dates back to the 15th century.

By knowing the background behind the painter, time period, and other information, you can strengthen your appreciation for this piece further than just the incredible use of abstract and vibrant colors. Now, you have grounds of comparison for the many other Deposition from the Cross representations scattered around Florence!

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