Chiostro dello Scalzo – Andrea del Sarto in Florence
The Company of the Disciplined of St. John the Baptist, founded in 1376 was located here. The cloister was the lobby leading to the church. Nothing is left of the Company but this little place.
The Company was known as “Scalzo” (barefoot) because the man who carried the cross in processions used to go barefoot as a sign of penitence.
This small cloister is one of the wonders of Florence. The most complete work of Andrea del Sarto, such a good painter that Vasari described him as “the painter without mistakes“.
Andrea del Sarto worked on these scenes about the life of St. John the Baptist from 1509 to 1526. It’s almost 20 years and these are fondamental years in the development of the Renaissance because there is the transformation from Early to Late Renaissance.
Just compare the first scene that Andrea frescoed, the baptism of Christ with, for example, the baptism of the masses. The first was done in 1509 and the second in 1517. Between the two such a difference you would say they are done by different artirsts!
In the baptism of the masses Andrea del Sarto is a complete, mature artist. He has seen the best works of Florence and Rome (and therefore all the ART of his time). Absolutely clear is his tribute to Masaccio in the shaking man, to Michelangelo in the naked body we see from behind and to Leonardo in the shaded background. Is there anything else you could ask for?
Andrea’s skills are emphasized by the use of a monochrome color: yellow. Yellow is used in its many different shades probably because the company was not rich, and even if they could afford to pay Andrea del Sarto, they did not disdain to save money on color. For us it’s almost a blessing that the cloister is frescoed in one color only because there are very few examples of grisalle and I assure you that admiring all these scenes touches the heart!
So if you love the hidden places, the little gems of the city, where no one ever goes, then the Chiostro dello Scalzo is for you. Moreover it is located in Via Cavour, just after the Post Office, just a few steps away from Hotel Kursaal & Ausonia,.
It is open Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays from 8.15 to 13.50 and entrance is free.