Sunday, September 19, 2010

Last suppers

Italy abounds in depictions of the Last Supper. Of course, there's the famous one in Milan by Da Vinci, but every convent or monastery (there are a lot of those) has a refectory, and the popular motif to decorate it is a scene of the last supper. Also in Florence, several famous ones exist, and since I've seen pretty much everything else a tourist would think of visiting here, I decided to go to the ones I hadn't been to.
Already last year, I visited the Cenacolo (refectory) of Ognissanti for the fresco by Domenico Ghirlandaio, directly next to the church of the same name (but not with the same opening times). A fairly traditional take, though the birds in the background add a nice touch.
Last weekend, I took the bike across town to the monastery of San Michele in San Salvi, where there's another fresco by Andrea del Sarto. This one is a bit unusual in that Judas is sitting next to Jesus (instead of across the table, isolated).
Finally, yesterday I went to the final ones missing in my collection, all conveniently close to the market where I had to go anyway to get produce. First stop was the Cenacolo di Fuligno, with a fresco by Pietro Vannucci, known as 'Perugino'. No pictures allowed here, though the sign only prohibited flash. I've noticed that the rules concerning taking pictures in churches/museums/etc. are not very consistent, so usually it's better to just take pictures and not ask. The worst that can happen is that they'll ask you to stop. The last supper, by the way, was pretty standard.
Next stop was the Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia, with a fresco by Andrea del Castagno. The people here looked less realistic (Judas looks like a satyr), and the background has fake marble insets. From there, I went to the nearby Chiostro dello Scalzo, which features some beautiful monochromatic frescoes by del Sarto depicting the life of John the Baptist. (No pictures here, either)
All of the places described here can be visited without an admission charge, though the opening times can be limited, so check the museums site of Florence first. It goes without saying that these places are off the radar for most tourists (and don't appear in most guides), so you'll likely encounter few other visitors.

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