The Bargello National Museum is truly a spectacular collection of Renaissance works of art.
Nestled in the stunning Palazzo del Bargello, the museum is set within one of the oldest buildings in Florence. Although you can find a variety of artwork within this Museum, it is primarily home to sculptures, known best as the National sculpture museum.
The History of Bargello National Museum
Built-in 1255, the building was once the main headquarters of the Capitano del Popolo, well also being the base for the Podestà and Council of Justice in later years. However, in 1574, it became the Captain of Justice, also known as the chief of police’s, private residence, with a large part of the building used as a prison. However, after this period, a series of alterations were put in place in the 14th and 15th century to restore the building to its original beauty, with brick staircases, a large hall, and a series of balconies.
The 1401 Competition Panels
Back in 1401, Florence held a competition to see who could design a set of bronze doors for the Baptistry. Artists were to give bronze samples in a quatrefoil panel shape, using both the Sacrifice of Isaac, the Old Testament stories within their artwork. Luckily for us, Florence decided to showcase not just the winner in the entrance, but the two runners up named Ghiberti and Brunelleschi from the contest. Displaying the two bronze runners up on the back wall of the building.
Donatello’s Bronze David
Donatello’s Bronze David is truly an inspirable sight to see, being only recently restored for public viewing. The work has a lot of mystery clouding it, with many historians unsure what era it is from, and small details in the statue don’t suit the representation of the piece. The most obvious is the statue’s choice of hat and shoes, but no other clothing, that is seen as inappropriate for the shepherd boy that this bronze figure is representing. However, the mystery of this artwork only makes it even more fascinating.
It is one of Michelangelo’s early works, made in 1496 when he was a young adult. It was commissioned for a cardinal who owned a garden full of sculptures and was done by Michelangelo when he first came to Rome. A similar style to his famous ‘David’ piece, the Bacchus is soft and beautiful, depicting the God of wine being held by a tree trunk and a satyr.