A glittering cavalcade of men and animals winds through a rocky landscape under an azure sky. The men are dressed in all the luxury of Italian 15th-century fashions, in brilliant colours, damask, gold brocade. They ride horses and camels with various creatures to amuse them - dogs, cheetahs and monkeys. In the background are forests and picturesque towered tows. This is the procession of the Magi on their way to worship the newborn Christ, painted in the chapel of the Medici’s palace in Florence by Benozzo Gozzoli in 1459. For their sheer beauty, their precision, and their almost fairy-tale quality, these frescoes have always been among the most popular of all western paintings.
The photographs in this book were taken after the chapel’s recent cleaning. Not only do the colours glow with a new brilliance, but numerous features have been revealed that could not be seen before. The book illustrates the chapel wall by wall, showing the entire surface and then a series of details reproduced in actual size. Cristina Acidini Luchinat is an art historian and conservationist who has worked on a number of major art restoration projects, including Gozzoli’s frescoes. Her lucid texts, complementing the pictures, examine the chapel as a whole, its art-historical context, the individual murals, and the problems and procedures involved in the conservation of the paintings.
Palazzo Medici Riccardi
Cristina Acidini Luchinat