Benozzo Gozzoli Exhibition & the Magi Chapel

Lorenzo de’ Medici on horseback as Casper, the youngest of the Three Kings, in the Magi Chapel frescoed by Benozzo Gozzoli

Until March 10, 2022:  BENOZZO GOZZOLI AND THE MAGI CHAPEL.  Palazzo Medici Riccardi.  Open daily 9 am – 7 pm, closed Wednesday.  Admission: €10, with a reduced price of €6 offered to those between the ages of 18 to 25 or for university students. Free admission will be offered for individuals up to 17 years old, accredited journalists and disabled people along with their caregivers.  There will also be free entrance for residents of the Florence metropolitan area on Sunday, January 9 with photo I.D. from 9 am to 6 pm.

The Renaissance master Benozzo Gozzoli has an exhibition dedicated to his work, his life and his relationship with the city of Florence. The choice of location is based on Gozzoli’s history with the palace and because the Chapel of the Magi fresco that he created on the walls. Audio is curated in Italian, but display descriptions have both Italian and English text.

The birth of Benozzo Gozzoli (born Benozzo di Lese) can be traced back to a period between 1420 and 1421 in modern Scandicci, where he moved to Florence 1427. His family’s background in the fabric and textile trade and three years of working with Lorenzo Ghiberti on the east gate of the Florentine baptistery has left him with an affinity for detail, which can be seen across all of his artwork. Arguably, his most important collaboration was with Fra Angelico, who set him on the path to becoming one of the important fresco artists of the Renaissance. He worked primarily in Florence but moved across Italy to create more art, including the Vatican, Orvieto and Viterbo. After earning recognition through years of work, including a commission for Pope Pius II, he returned to Florence 1459 to create the Chapel of the Magi, one of his most famous legacies. . He continued his life as an artist, moving between Florence, Pisa and San Gimignano until his death in Pistoia in 1497.

The exhibition itself offers one of the best viewing events of Gozzoli’s work, through well-organized displays and devices to enhance the visitor’s experience, while also painting an elaborate picture of his life. Written excerpts by Gozzoli or notes about him are also featured along with their modern translations. Guests can immerse themselves in every small detail of the Chapel of the Magi’s fresco thanks to the implementation of multimedia to deliver the full story of the piece, especially because a large piece such as that will often have parts that go overlooked by viewers. The exhibition also gives the detailed history behind Gozzoli creating the piece and the story behind the commission given to him by the Medici family, along with how major political figures are subjects in the work itself.

This is also an opportunity to see art on loan from prominent international museums, which include paintings such as Young Madonna del Baldacchino with Angels (National Gallery, London), the Mystical Marriage of St. Catherine, Pietà with St. John the Evangelist and Mary Magdalene, St. Anthony the Abbot and St. Egidio (Museum of San Marco, Florence), the Pillar with St. Bartholomew (San Gimignano). The entirety of Gozzoli’s life as an artist proves that he was a bridge between the medieval and Renaissance era of art, as his work emphasized the importance of accurate anatomy, realistic face structures and helped pioneer the early use of perspective.  (nelson matos)