In the rich and complex variety of suggestions that cross it, the iconographic program of that condensation of history, art and power that is Palazzo Vecchio.
The heart of the political strategy of self-representation of the Medici authority that in the early sixteenth century Florence is consolidating on a territorial scale, it reveals the plurality of knowledge and the stratigraphies of a cultural background that is transversely deployed across the board far beyond the encomiastic design.
Here the artistic invention and naturalistic curiosity converge and dialogue, components of the historical discourse (also in the allegorical mythological variations) as well as assumptions and foundations of a practical attitude as of an incumbent, specific scientific attention, especially botanical.
From the Sala dei Cinquecento to the Studiolo of Francesco I, from the Green Room to the Hall of the geographical maps, between apartments and representative rooms, celebratory meanings and passion for the world of “natural things” mutually reverberate in the crowds of artists and decorators among the major of the Renaissance.
In a single plot, the heraldic omnipresence of the Florentine red lily (actually an iris) accompanies the animals of the Medici emblems and businesses, as well as the black rooster of the Lega militare del Chianti. The attention to the landscape, detected with campaigns from life, to signify the new political geography, is coupled with the passion for nature investigated and, between science and magic, alchemically manipulated. Thus, the curiosity for detail and the vertigo of the collection are testified by over 150 vegetable presences (and a little less those animals) recorded and depicted on the doors of the study. And again, on frescoes, grotesques and whimsy, from the conversients and the infinite theories of missing fruits, first fruits, citrus fruits, from the mixtures of local, exotic, fantastic, faunas and flowers, and festoons, borders and plant architectures, from the chasing of chimeras , invertebrates, marine creatures, minerals, kernels of the Esperidi and plants of the new world, fruit in endless varieties.
To give an account of the recall of these presences, in their dense appearance from one environment to another of the building, now leads us in an interrelated recognition of the history of art, emblematic, zoology, botany, the volume entitled Nature painted . Plants, flowers and animals in the representations of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence (pp. 144, € 14.00), edited by Maria Adele Signorini and Valentina Zucchi and published for the Aboca editions.
In a catalog already rich in titles – from the recent Ecology of Desire. Taking care of the planet without Antonio Cianciullo’s renunciation to the Journey in the vegetable universe of the neo-biologist Stefano Mancuso -, in a choice that deepens and divulges themes at the center of the work, also of research, of a company like Aboca, especially dedicated to the realization of therapeutic products based on natural molecular complexes.
In short, while not disdaining cultivating books, biologically before anything else cultivated medicinal plants.