Ospedale degli Innocenti in Florence: Visual Cultures of Care with Christina Mifsud

Ospedale degli Innocenti in Florence: Visual Cultures of Care with Christina Mifsud


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The Renaissance architecture of Filippo Brunelleschi meets the growing social dilemma of the abandonment of children in the extraordinary fifteenth-century Innocents’ Hospital in Florence. This lecture presents the history of the building and highlights its unique visual cultures of care within the recently restored museum today.

Florence’s Ospedale degli Innocenti or Innocents’ Hospital, was the first hospital ever built specifically to care for and provide support for abandoned children. This extraordinary project, to address a growing social dilemma, also corresponded with the rise of a merchant class who commissioned its construction. Today’s building is one of the finest examples of philanthropic patronage which characterizes the art and architecture of the Florentine Renaissance.

An extensive restoration of the site, its architecture, and the entire body of works in possession of the Innocenti was completed in 2016. The collection ranges from the medallions mothers left with the abandoned “innocenti” to Renaissance paintings by the hand of great artists such as Sandro Botticelli. This lecture takes a look at the unique history of the Innocenti and how its mission to provide a solution for a social crisis created a wealth of visual culture with the themes of care for children.

Led by Art Historian Christina Mifsud, an expert in the Florentine Renaissance, this interactive seminar explores the context in which Renaissance art was created and, in particular, how the patronage of these artistic projects formed the visual cultures of the time. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased awareness of the role of painting, sculpture, and architecture in the fifteenth century and encourage reflection about the role of art and architecture in our world today.

This conversation is part of a three-part series on Florence with Christina Mifsud. Each session is designed as a stand-alone seminar as well as part of a three-week series.

Christina Mifsud is an adjunct Professor of Art History at Loyola University of Chicago’s John Felice Rome Center and an authorized tour guide for Italy and Vatican City. Christina holds a B.A. in Art History from Santa Clara University where she studied near her native city of San Francisco and later made her home in Florence, Italy where she completed an M.A. in Italian Renaissance Studies with Syracuse University in 1995. Mifsud is an expert storyteller who weaves anecdotes and events into a relatable account of the past while placing masterpieces of art and architecture in context.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
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S.-.B.
Fascinating Story of the Care of Relinguised Babies

The mission and architecture of this Ospedale degli Innocenti has always amazed me. Because I have visited the Piazza Santissima Annunziata (and church) a couple of times, I was most interested in hearing more about this. Unfortunately, have not toured the museum so a nice goal in the future, if possible. Christina's overview of the design, implementation, and running of this orphanage was so informative. A bit of the city's history and the input of Brunelleschi (description of the external architecture) and Andrea della Robbia (those wonderful roundels) was a plus. I loved the in-depth look at the information about the infants in the archives and assignment of the names enlightening. Wonderful presentation!

A
A.

This is my second Context Conversation with Christina, and both times I was impressed with her willingness to contextualize whatever she is discussing and in general to provide the listener with more rather than fewer facts. In doing so, she offered me a more nuanced understanding of the topics.

A
A.
Context and Details Matter

This is my second Context Conversation with Christina, and both times I was impressed with her willingness to contextualize whatever she is discussing and in general to provide the listener with more rather than fewer facts. In doing so, she offered me a more nuanced understanding of the topics.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
100%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
S
S.-.B.
Fascinating Story of the Care of Relinguised Babies

The mission and architecture of this Ospedale degli Innocenti has always amazed me. Because I have visited the Piazza Santissima Annunziata (and church) a couple of times, I was most interested in hearing more about this. Unfortunately, have not toured the museum so a nice goal in the future, if possible. Christina's overview of the design, implementation, and running of this orphanage was so informative. A bit of the city's history and the input of Brunelleschi (description of the external architecture) and Andrea della Robbia (those wonderful roundels) was a plus. I loved the in-depth look at the information about the infants in the archives and assignment of the names enlightening. Wonderful presentation!

A
A.

This is my second Context Conversation with Christina, and both times I was impressed with her willingness to contextualize whatever she is discussing and in general to provide the listener with more rather than fewer facts. In doing so, she offered me a more nuanced understanding of the topics.

A
A.
Context and Details Matter

This is my second Context Conversation with Christina, and both times I was impressed with her willingness to contextualize whatever she is discussing and in general to provide the listener with more rather than fewer facts. In doing so, she offered me a more nuanced understanding of the topics.