Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Terrestrial Globe in Florence

I was thrilled to discover this historical gem on my last visit to Florence. I had never gone into the Palazzo Vecchio before, with the exception of poking my head in the door to look at the Putti fountain. My friend who lives in Florence recently visited the Palace for the first time and highly recommended it. At the end of a stunning walk through rooms of wonderful frescoes, floors and gold leaf I was in a massive room and through the doorway I spotted this magnificent globe by Egnazio Danti . It was an amazing object and I immediately wanted to know more. Here is a snippet from the Friends of Florence website:

The Terrestrial Globe by Egnazio Danti that we find in the Guardaroba or Sala delle Carte Geografiche (the Map Room) in the Monumental Apartments in Palazzo Vecchio is an extremely rare piece because of its size of more than two meters in diameter and the era in which it was made. It was constructed around 1567 on orders from the Duke of Florence, Cosimo I de’Medici. It was part of a larger project for furnishing and decorating a room that would celebrate the patron and his well-known interests in the physical and natural sciences. It depicts the world as it was known to and imagined by the men of the Late Renaissance: the seas are furrowed by sails and infested with sea monsters, there are graduated circles and the names of the winds, and the entire globe is embellished with gold inscriptions and highlights.As of today, we have no first hand sources that describe the techniques Danti used in making the globe. He did say that it was reinforced on the inside with iron and 'made with such a new technique, that such a large machine can be moved in all directions by a finger and the poles can be raised and lowered with the greatest ease.'

If you're interested you can read more here

No comments: