- guild hall
- ordered by the florentine government in 1336 to accommodate the economic,
religious activities that had developed in its piazza over the course of the
- buildings history: convent> grain market> guild hall
- grain constituted the portray staple of their diet. was increasingly unable
adequate supplies of it for its growing population
- they eventually only allowed one grain market to exist (at orsanmichele) so
would be regulated, so that they could watch out for criminal activity.
- interior: frescoed image of the Virgin Mary in one of the grain loggias
- metaphor of Mary as the virgin earth that brought forth the divine wheat,
spiritual food, in the form of Christ, the second Adam.
- st. Lawrence too was linked with grain by the Gospel reading for his feast
day except a
corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, but if it fie, it
forth much fruit. and was therefore the patron of the Florentine bakers, who
their flour in piazza Orto San Michele.
- the confraternitys popularity (at orsanmichele) began to soar (resulting in
donations) because the Virgin of Orsanmichele began to perform miracles,
sick and crippled. the site was soon transformed into a major pilgrimage
center. - 1304: large fires deliberately started by a Black Guelf partisan, damaging
loggia and much of the neighbouring area north of the Arno. the image of the
injured, and probably destroyed, by flames and smoke fuelled by the votive wax
surrounding her oratory.
- new confraternal painting housed in an new oratory, and religious life in
- by contrast rem airs to the communal grain loggia were made more slowly,
building remaining unstable. the florentine government lacked the funds to
rebuild the grain loggia.
- need for a new building at this important site that was capable of
communal stores of wheat, must have presented itself with stark reality during
severe famine of 1328-29, which unleaded the panic, terror and riots in the
- decision to rebuild was finally taken in september 1336 during a brief period
prosperity that saw the production of Andrea Pisanos bronze doors for the
1330, the resumption of work on the Canthedral in 1331, the designing of the
hall of the bargello in 1333, and the founding of Giottos Campanile in 1334.
- the government admitted that its present appearance was a discredit to the
city and that
the continued lack of proper store space for the grain supplies was causing
financial loss. a buiding was therefore ordered to house the communal granary
offices and residences of the citys grain officials. -
- revenues from several grain-related taxes were set aside for this, and a
was subsequently elected to organize the details of its design with the
its choice , Andrea Pisano .
- influenced by the northern italian palace known as a broletto, comprising a
floor loggia and enclosed upper stories that could accommodate commercial and
activities within a market setting.
- work appears to have started in early 1337, and the foundation ceremony was
the following July.
- in April 1339 , the silk guild sponsored legislation that extended the
functions of the
new loggia and made a significant addition to the activities that took place in
Orto San Michele.
- The loggia had ten external piers, providing a total of thirteen (later
fourteen) usable external pier surfaces, the silk guild proposed that these be
decorated with tabernacles containing either panel painting, fresco, or a
figure of the patron saints of the citys official political party, the Parte
of its five major and seven middle guilds, collectively known as the twelve
- the wording of the new law suggests that the tabernacles were to be
constructed as an
integral part of the new loggia, and therefore financed by the building funds
from the communal grain taxes.
- each of the thirteen corporate bodies was responsible for the cost of decorating its
tabernacle and supplying it with an appropriate image, before which it was to
oblations on the feast day of its patron saint to be donated to the compagnia
orsanmichele to help the citys poor.
- the program to garland the new loggia with the patron saints of the Parte
Guelfa and the
twelve major guide transformed the piazza Orto San Michele into a unique
centre, for although these institutions, participated in the annual processions
certain churches where the festivals and communally recognized saints were
venerated, at Orsanmichele they were singled out, each with an individual feast
day to be
celebrated at the same prestigious site. through these civic rituals the Parte
and the twelve major guilds received recognition for the offerings they made to
confraternity responsible for managing the majority of the citys poor relief.
- the three guilds in charge of the citys most prestigious communal building
were the first to comply with the new legislation, carrying out their
between 1339 and 1314: the Arte della Lana, responsible for S. Maria del Fiore
Campanile; the Arte di Calimala, responsible for the Baptistry; and the Arte di
- the Arte Della Lana was given the central pier on the west Facade,
palace, while the Arte di Calimala and Arte di Por Santa Maria were given
honour on the east and south faces of the southeast corner pier of the
- By 1347 the Arte die Becchai had claimed the northern face of the of the
corner pier, to which a panel painting of St. Peter and the guilds flag
for this annual celebration. - The arte di Por Santa Maria was probably the earliest to act, commissioning
Pisano to design a tabernacle that could serve as the prototype for those of
guilds. the same design was used by the Arte della Lana and the Arte die Beccai
the likelihood that Andrea Pisanos scheme was also employed by the Arte Di
its tabernacle, which was replaced in the early fifteenth century. such
serves to emphasize the uniformity of this first decorative campaign, a
only for corporate aesthetic ideals but also of corporate equality, a decisive
of Florentine politics during those years.
- of these four guilds, only one, the wool guild, appears to have executed a
statue for its
tabernacle, appointing a committee of four to supervise the commission, and
200 florins for the statue and its decoration, which probably included the
and polychrome inters panels of the niche opening, but not the tabernacle. Its
probably the marble St. Stephen attributed to Andrea Pisano and now in the
Duomo; its statue was removed from orsanmichele to the facade of the cathedral
installation of a new bronze statue by Ghiberti in 1428.
- The silk guild waited until the 1370s before ordering a marble St. John
Evangelist , now
stored in the Ospedale Degli Innocenti.
- the failure to complete the initial program of thirteen identical external
tabernacles was probably linked to the increasing scarcity of funds available
construction of the new grain palace.
- dependent on taxes levied on the sale of grain and flour and on the
of communal grain barrels and sacks by the citys grain merchants, these
declined precipitously as the volume of free trade within the market
blunged during the periods of famine and plague that punctuated the troubled decade of the
providing barely enough to raise the loggia to the level of its vault
imposts by 1350
- aside from their obligation to decorate their respective pier faces, the
another important reason for wishing thei