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Arezzo

  Arezzo is a wonderful medieval town nestling behind its imposing stone walls as it has for centuries. The city flourished in medieval times, coming under the rule of the Medicis in the 15th century and today the town is a complete kaleidoscope of architectural styles which somehow blend together harmoniously, with such charm. There are Romanesque churches juxtaposed with timber-beamed medieval shops, separated by intimate cobbled squares. Arezzo’s main square is nothing short of a masterpiece and without doubt must be one of Europe’s most stunning. Arezzo’s second claim to fame is its superb frescoes housed in the huge cathedral, some of the world’s most detailed and most well preserved.  

 

The Lorentino Gate

The Chimera under the Lorentino Gate.

 

According to Greek mythology the Chimera or "she-goat" was a monstrous, fire-breathing hybrid creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, created by the binding of multiple animal parts to create a singular unnatural creature. As the offspring of Typhon and Echidna, the Chimera ravaged the lands of Lycia at a disastrous pace.

 Distressed by the destruction of his lands, the king of Lycia, Iobates, ordered a young warrior named Bellerophon to slay the dreaded Chimera, also as a favor to a neighboring king,Proetus. Proteus wanted Bellerophon dead because his wife accused him of ravishing her, and he assumed that the warrior would perish in the attempt to kill the beast. Bellerophon set out on his winged horse, Pegasus, and emerged victorious from his battle, eventually winning not only the hand of Iobates' daughter but also his kingdom. It is this story that led art historians to believe that the Chimera of Arezzo was originally part of a group sculpture that included Bellerophon and Pegasus. The original statue is estimated to have been created around 400 BC.

The first known literary reference was in Homer's Iliad, and the epic poetry of Hesiod in the 8th century BCE also mentions the Chimera. In 1718, the sculpture was transported to the Uffizi Gallery.  Its permanent residence is in the National Archaeological Museum in Florence. 

A bronze replica now stands near the spot of its original discovery in Arezzo.

Ref: Wikipedia

 

 

Basilica of San Domenico

 

The Basilica of San Domenico is a Medieval church dedicated to St Dominic. It is especially renowned for housing a painted crucifix (1265) by Cimabue.

The construction began in 1275 and was completed in the 14th century. The exterior is a Tuscan Gothic style. It also contains frescoes depicting Life of Santi Filippo, Giacomo Minore, and Caterina (1395-1400) by Spinello Aretino. Spinello’s son, Parri di Spinello painted holad the Crucifixion and Three Saints.

The Gothic-style Dragomanni chapel has an altar by Giovanni di Francesco (1368) and frescoes of ‘’Jesus among the Doctors" by Gregorio and Donato di Arezzo. The tryptich of "St Michael archangel and Domenic and Paul’’ is attributed to the Maestro del Vescovado.

 

 

 

 

Daniel Eleuterio Virtuoso

Painted crucifix (1265) by Cimabue.

The Cathedral

 

The first cathedral of Arezzo was built on the nearby Pionta Hill, over the burial place of Donatus of Arezzo, martyred in 363. In 1203 Pope Innocent III had the cathedral moved within the city's walls, to the current site. The cathedral however lost the relics of Donatus, which were transferred to the church of San Donato in Castiglione Messer Raimondo (in what is now theprovince of Teramo). In spite of this, the cathedral is still dedicated to Saint Donatus and at the high altar houses a 14th-century arch named after him.

The construction of the current structure, started in 1278, went through different phases, and ended in 1511. The façade was built in 1901-1914, replacing the previous, unfinished one, dating to the 15th century.

 

 

Painted ceilings

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Piero della Francesca
Santa Maria Magdalena ca 1459

 

This fresco, mentioned by Giorgio Vasari, is next to the vestry door and nearly hidden by the 14th-century cenotaph of Bishop Tarlati, which was moved to the Cathedral in 1783, destroying the ancient chapel. It was painted by Piero della Francesca before 1459, the year thr great painter had probably completed the cycle of the Legend of the True Cross in the Church of Saint Francesco in Arezzo. The Magdalene is portrayed according to the ancient iconography,her long hair worn loose, while holding in her hands the container of ointmets that she would have then rubbed on Jesus's body in the Sepulcre.

The Saint, set within a classical-style Renaissance arch, embelished by an extremely elegant frieze decorated with small palm trees, must have been portrayed on a pale blue background of which a few traces remain, while the gold of the halo has tarnished completely.

 

 

14th-century cenotaph of Bishop Tarlati

Arch of St. Donatus sculpted in marble, has twelve small piers terminating in spires and pinnacles in Gothic style and was executed by Florentine, Aretine and Sienese artists of the 14th century

Marble statue of the Grand Duke Ferdinando I. The statue was ereced by the people of Arezzo in tribute to the Duke as a sign of gratitude for the reclamation of the Valdichiana which brought considerable improvements to the territory of Arezzo.

Lapidarium is a series of sculptures by the Mexican artist Gustavo Aceves

Gustavo Aceves

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Piazza Grande

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