5—Museo Bardini

Perfect place for a quickie before (Saturday) brunch—at my (real) neighborhood trattoria, Bella, which was the site of Nancy “Boulevard” Oakes’s first place, Avenue. Rozanne and I discovered her while she was cooking in the bar next door in 1987.

Anyway, Stefano Bardini (1836-1922) “trained as a painter, became famous as a restorer, and put together a collection of artwork with the love and passion for the Renaissance. Thanks to him, the keenness for Renaissance architectural decorations, for stucco sculptures, and terracotta sculptures [and decorated chests] was rediscovered.”

Let’s put it bluntly: Bardini was a dealer, and most of his stuff was dispersed in sales. He profited greatly from “the urbanistic reorganization of Florence in the 1860s and 70s.” He eventually worked a lot with Berenson, whose client Isabella Stewart Gardner took the blue in her “museum” from Bardini.

I like Bernardo Daddi’s 15-foot crucifix, c.1340, apparently the largest in Florence.

And, of course, the Porcellino, the wild boar, 1612, by a student of Giambologna. The snout has been much touched, over the years, for good luck.


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