Projects

Cloister of the Vows - Santissima Annunziata

Conservation Project Timeline: 
2013

The Cloister of the Vows (Chiostrino dei Voti) is one of Friends of Florence’s current major projects and there are numerous opportunities to support this special restoration.  If you would like further information about how you might contribute, please be in touch for further details.

The Cloister is the entrance atrium to Santissima Annunziata, one of the most important churches in Florence. Michelozzo di Bartolomeo designed the four-sided portico, sustained by columns with Corinthian capitals and cross vaults.  The atrium is decorated with marble reliefs and twelve wall paintings by major Florentine artists.   

The painting of the lunettes began in 1460, thanks to numerous patrons and devoted followers of the church.  Sixteen years elapsed between the creation of the first lunette, Baldovinetti’s Nativity, and the second, Cosimo Rosselli’s Dressing of S. Filippo Benizzi, but work accelerated in 1509 with Andrea del Sarto completing five scenes in two years.  Andrea del Sarto continued the scenes with stories from the life of the Virgin Mary: The Procession of the Magi in 1513 and The Birth of the Virgin in 1514.  1514 also saw the solemn festivities for the Perpetual Jubilee celebrated in SS Annunziata. The following year del Sarto assigned the two remaining lunettes to his best pupils - in 1516, Pontormo painted The Visitation and in 1517 Rosso Fiorentino painted The Assumption of the Virgin.

The decoration of the four upper walls above the portico was completed between 1510 and 1514. Andrea Feltrino painted the backgrounds with coat of arms and motives in which six medallions with Old Testament prophets were inserted, as well as two walled-in windows that depict a friar gazing out onto the Cloister and a majolica vase with lilies.

In 1833, to protect the frescos from the elements, Leopold II enclosed the atrium.  The current cast iron and glass skylight was installed in the early 20th century, however this protective covering has not resolved the challenge of conserving the frescos. 

After World War II, a treatment to isolate the walls from humidity was applied, but this proved inadequate.  Between the late 1950s and 1966, the Florentine restorer Dino Dini detached the individual frescos from the walls. 

Today the Cloister of the Vows is in dire need of complete restoration, from the twelve masterpieces in the lunette frescos to the architectural elements and marble statues. 

Three restored frescos from the Cloister were included in the Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino. Diverging Paths of Mannerism exhibit at Palazzo Strozzi in 2014: Pontormo's Visitation; Andrea Del Sarto's Procession of the Magi; and Rosso Fiorentino's Assumption. For more information on the exhibit, please click here.

Donors: 

Nativity by Alessio Baldovinetti
Julie and William C. Ballard, Jr.

Procession of the Magi by Andrea del Sarto
Janet and James Dicke II

Birth of the Virgin by Andrea del Sarto
Simonetta Brandolini d'Adda

Marriage of the Virgin by Franciabigio
The Aspen Chapter of Friends of Florence

The Visitation by Pontormo
Kathe and John Dyson

Assumption of the Virgin by Rosso Fiorentino
Susan M. Boswell

Investiture of Saint Filippo Benzi by Cosimo Rosselli
Stacy and Bruce Simon

Miracle with Healing of a Leper by Andrea del Sarto
Karen and Dan Pritzker, on behalf of the Jay Pritzker Foundation

Punishment of Blasphemers by Andrea del Sarto
Karen and Dan Pritzker, on behalf of the Jay Pritzker Foundation

Miracle of Healing by Andrea del Sarto
Santa Lucia Asset Management Pte. Ltd.

Miracle of the Relics by Andrea del Sarto
Santa Lucia Asset Management Pte. Ltd.

Death of Saint Filippo and Resurrection of the Young Boy by Andrea del Sarto
Elissa and Edgar Cullman, Jr.

Bronze Aspersorium
Kathleen and Robert Craine

Daniel Amongst the Lions
Elissa and Edgar Cullman, Jr.

Noah and the Ark
Renée and William Brinkerhoff
Joy and Leonard Dreimann
M. Ann O’Brien

Jonah and the Fish
Renée and William Brinkerhoff
Joy and Leonard Dreimann
M. Ann O’Brien

Additional support provided by:
Bronze Contributors
The Carbonari Family Foundation
Janet and James Dicke II
Nancy and Jim Greenleaf
Marilee and Randall Hatcher
Anne and Robert Krebs
Sally and Rudy Ruggles
Ann M. Stevens

Supporters
Anonymous
Laurel Barrack
The Barry and Jody Turkus Foundation
Simonetta Brandolini d’Adda
Nathalie Chevereau
Hester Diamond
Helena and Jürgen Hoffmeister
Ragnar Horn
Lauren and Phillip R. Hughes - Greenville, South Carolina
Ann Jackson and Kendrick Wilson
Sonia and Paul Tudor Jones
JP Morgan
M. Ann O’Brien
Sandra and Verl Purdy
Dorothy and Kevin Rivette