A few weeks ago I posted some photos of Florentine wrought ironwork. Here is a follow-up featuring Florentine metalwork closer to the fine art end of the spectrum. This is a huge subject with a great tradition but these are just a few pictures that appealed to me.
The casting of relief-decorated bronze doors has been a major art form in Florence since the start of the Renaissance. In fact, many classic texts date the true start of the Italian Renaissance to the sculpting of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s doors for Florence’s Baptistery.
Sadly, the two sets of doors that Ghiberti made for the Baptistery have now been replaced by modern copies in order to preserve the originals. The copies are superb, however, and a great testament to an enduring Florentine bronze casting tradition.
Cast sculpture can be found throughout Florence both in the galleries and out in public spaces. A favourite of mine is the fountains in the Piazza della Santissima Annunziata by Pietro Tacca.
As well as skills with bronze, Florence has long been renowned as a centre for gold-smithing. In the Pitti Palace fine examples are displayed of gold working from many periods.
Finally, though not high art, I noticed a number small metal tortoises scattered around the city, often in hard to spot places and usually carrying heavy loads on their backs.
See also: Florentine Ironwork