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S.P.Q.R.
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Cappella Pazzi - Firenze

Pazzi Chapel (Cappella dei Pazzi) in Florence is considered to be one of the masterpieces of Renaissance architecture. It is located in the “first cloister” of the Basilica di Santa Croce. Though funds for the chapel were assembled in 1429 by Andrea Pazzi, head of the Pazzi family, whose wealth was second only to the Medici, construction did not begin until about 1441. The chapel was completed in the 1460s.



Once thought to be a work of Filippo Brunelleschi, it now seems that he most probably was responsible for the plan, which is based on simple geometrical forms[1], the square and the circle, but not for the building's execution and detailing. A façade that he had begun, and of which only the lower register can be seen, was partially obscured by the addition of a porch.



The size of the chapel was predetermined by existing walls, creating an unusual situation, however, where the space was not square as in the Old Sacristy, which was the model for this building, but rectangular and transept-like and thus in contradistinction to the square, axially-placed altar.



Despite this, and its complex history, the building gives us insight into the ambitions of Renaissance architects in their struggle to bring coherency to the architectural language of columns, pilasters, arches and vaults. Between the pilasters in the transept there are tall, blank, round headed panels and, above them, roundels, common Renaissance decorative motifs. The architectural elements of the interior are all in pietra serena (Italian: "serene stone").



As to the architect, scholars argue that it could have been either the work of Giuliano da Maiano or Michelozzo. The rondels of the seated Apostles are by Luca della Robbia, who also did the terracotta decorations in the cupola of the porch. It has been suggested that the roundels of the Evangelists many have been the work of Donatello.
 

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