Chapel of St. Luke (also known as the Chapel of the Painters)

SS. Annunziata

Restoration of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno’s Chapel of St. Luke (also known as the Chapel of the Painters) is complete. This uniquely designed space within the Convent of the Santissima Annunziata is known for its unusual combination of materials and techniques and the artworks adorning it.

The two-year restoration project was commissioned by the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno and conducted through the support of Friends of Florence under the supervision of the Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio per la Città Metropolitana di Firenze e le Province di Pistoia e Prato. The project provided an opportunity to both preserve and study one of Florence’s most fascinating late Renaissance complexes.

Chapel of St. Luke

The Chapel of St. Luke, or Chapel of the Painters, in the convent of the Santissima Annunziata has been one of the most symbolic sites for Florence’s artistic life since 1565. It was built on the site of the Santissima Annunziata’s former Chapter House thanks to Fra Giovannangelo Montorsoli, a friar and sculptor who persuaded Prior General Fra Zaccaria Faldossi initially to host the newly established Accademia in certain areas of the convent and subequently to donate the space to that body outright. The Accademia del Disegno had been founded two years earlier, in 1563, thanks to Grand Duke Cosimo I and his two closest advisers, Vasari and Vincenzo Borghini. Members included the greatest artists of the Florentine Renaissance including Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti.

The Chapel hosted many eminent artists who would meet to witness the academy’s solemn oath-taking ceremonies and take part in lively academic debates. It also accommodated celebrations for the Four Crowned Saints, the patron saints of architecture, and for the feast of St. Luke, which eventually eclipsed all the others.

The Chapel was ‘reconsecrated’ to St. Luke the Evangelist, the patron saint of painters. It also became the designated burial site for artists wishing their remains to be interred there to ensure their association with the Accademia for eternity. These include Lorenzo Bartolini, Benvenuto Cellini, Jacopo Pontormo, and Rodolfo Siviero.

Today it is used by professors of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno to celebrate solemn mass on October 18, the feast of St. Luke, and for other religious services associated with the Accademia and its members.

Full Press Release

With the Generous Support of:

The Giorgi Foundation

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