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Our favourite place for watching the Tuscan sunset: stairs leading to the church of San Miniato al Monte in Florence, Italy. 
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Our favourite place for watching the Tuscan sunset: stairs leading to the church of San Miniato al Monte in Florence, Italy.
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The church of San Miniato al Monte, Florence: an eagle which crowns the façade is the symbol of the Florentine cloth merchants' guild who were responsible for the church's upkeep from 1288The church of San Miniato al Monte, FlorenceThe Cemetery of San Miniato al Monte in FlorenceThe Florentine sunsetThe church of San Miniato al Monte, FlorenceTuscan sunset
Inside the church of San Miniato al Monte in Florence, Italy. 
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Inside the church of San Miniato al Monte in Florence, Italy.

Wikipedia: "San Miniato al Monte (St. Minias on the Mountain) is a basilica in Florence, central Italy, standing atop one of the highest points in the city. It has been described as one of the finest Romanesque structures in Tuscany and one of the most beautiful churches in Italy. There is an adjoining Olivetan monastery, seen to the right of the basilica when ascending the stairs.
St. Miniato or Minas was an Armenian prince serving in the Roman army under Emperor Decius. He was denounced as a Christian after becoming a hermit and was brought before the Emperor who was camped outside the gates of Florence. The Emperor ordered him to be thrown to beasts in the Amphitheatre where a panther was called upon him but refused to devour him. Beheaded in the presence of the Emperor, he is alleged to have picked up his head, crossed the Arno and walked up the hill of Mons Fiorentinus to his hermitage. A shrine was later erected at this spot and there was a chapel there by the 8th century. Construction of the present church was begun in 1013 by Bishop Alibrando and it was endowed by the Emperor Henry II. The adjoining monastery began as a Benedictine community, then passed to the Cluniacs and then in 1373 to the Olivetans, who still run it."

"In the presbytery we find the marble enclosure and transenna with the pulpit and altar, decorated with geometrical motifs which are of classic origin with Near Eastern influences. The mosaic in the apse depicts Christ between the Madonna and San Miniato and the Symbols of the Four Evangelists and was made around the beginning of the 13th centuryl it is noteworthy for the technical expertise used in creating the unusual chiaroscuro effects." (Chiara Migliorini Fantechi: Florence: Guide to the City, Florence 2004).

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Christ between Madonna and San Miniato" - the mosaic (1297) in the apse of the church of San Miniato al Monte in FlorenceThe church of San Miniato al Monte, Florence: a detail from the presbiteryThe church of San Miniato al Monte, FlorenceThe church of San Miniato al Monte, Florence
The famous Brancacci Chapel in the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence, Italy. 
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The famous Brancacci Chapel in the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence, Italy.

Wikipedia: "It is sometimes called the "Sistine Chapel of the early Renaissance" for its painting cycle, among the most famous and influential of the period. Construction of the chapel was commissioned by Pietro Brancacci and begun in 1386. Public access is currently gained via the neighbouring convent, designed by Brunelleschi. The church and the chapel are treated as separate places to visit and as such have different opening times and it is quite difficult to see the rest of the church from the chapel.

The patron of the pictorial decoration was Felice Brancacci, descendant of Pietro, who had served as the Florentine ambassador to Cairo until 1423. Upon his return to Florence, he hired Masolino da Panicale to paint his chapel. Masolino's associate, 21 year old Masaccio, 18 years younger than Masolino, assisted, but during painting Masolino left to Hungary, where he was painter to the king, and the commission was given to Masaccio. By the time Masolino returned he was learning from his talented former student. However, Masaccio was called to Rome before he could finish the chapel, and died in Rome at the age of 27. Portions of the chapel were completed later by Filippino Lippi. Unfortunately during the Baroque period some of the paintings were seen as unfashionable and a tomb was placed in front of them.

Masaccio's application of scientific perspective, unified lighting, use of chiaroscuro and skill in rendering the figures naturalistically established new traditions in Renaissance Florence that some scholars credit with helping to found the new Renaissance style.

The young Michelangelo was one of the many artists who received his artistic training by copying Masaccio's work in the chapel. The chapel was also the site of an assault on Michelangelo by rival sculptor Pietro Torrigiano, who resented Michelangelo's critical remarks about his draughtsmanship. He punched the artist so severely that he "crushed his nose like a biscuit" (according to Benvenuto Cellini), which deformed Michelangelo's face into that of a boxer's.

The first restoration of the chapel frescoes was in 1481-1482, by Filippino Lippi, who was also responsible for completing the cycle. Due to the lamps used for lighting the dark chapel, the frescoes were relatively quickly coated in dust and dirt from the smoke. Another restoration was conducted at the end of the 16th century. Around 1670, sculptures were added, and the fresco-secco additions were made to the frescoes, to hide the various cases of nudity. Late 20th century restoration removed the overpainting and collected dust and dirt. Some critics, including professor and art historian James H. Beck, have criticised these efforts, while others, including professors, historians and restorers, have praised the work done on the chapel.".

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Frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel: "St. Peter Healing the Sick with His Shadow" by MasaccioFrescoes in the Brancacci Chapel: "The Crucifixion of St. Peter" by Filippino LippiFrescoes in the Brancacci Chapel: "St. Paul Visiting St. Peter in Prison" by Filippino LippiFrescoes in the Brancacci Chapel: detail from "Healing of the Cripple and Raising of Tabitha" by MasolinoFrescoes in the Brancacci ChapelFrescoes in the Brancacci Chapel: fragment of "Expulsion from the Garden of Eden" by MasaccioFrescoes in the Brancacci ChapelFrescoes in the Brancacci Chapel: fragment of "The Distribution of Alms and Death of Ananias" by MasaccioFrescoes in the Brancacci Chapel: Adam from "The Temptation of Adam and Eve" by MasolinoFrescoes in the Brancacci Chapel: Eve from "The Temptation of Adam and Eve" by MasolinoFrescoes in the Brancacci Chapel: "St. Peter Being Freed from Prison" by Filippino LippiFrescoes in the Brancacci ChapelFrescoes in the Brancacci Chapel: fragment of "The Crucifixion of St. Peter" by Filippino Lippi
Largo dei Librari, a triangular square :) near Campo de' Fiori in Rome. 
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Largo dei Librari, a triangular square :) near Campo de' Fiori in Rome.
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The façade of Santa Barbara dei Librai (a detail from the crib inside)
Christmas atmosphere inside the Oratorio del Santissimo Sacramento al Tritone in Rome, Italy. 
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Christmas atmosphere inside the Oratorio del Santissimo Sacramento al Tritone in Rome, Italy.

"Oratorio del Santissimo Sacramento al Tritone is a Baroque church or oratory at Piazza Poli 11 on the Via del Tritone, and belongs to the Archconfraternity of the Blessed Sacrament (Arciconfraternita della Santissimo Sacramento) of the parish of Santa Maria in Via. Construction started during the pontificate of Gregory XIII (1572–1585), but was not completed until 1681. It was completely rebuilt by Gregorini during the pontificate of Benedict XIII (1724–1730), and was again restored and embellished by Tito Armellini in 1867.

The two-storey façade is by Carlo Rainaldi in the style of Borromini, and was completed in 1681. It is wavy with a convex central element flanked by two concave outer elements, and rendered in white. [...] The interior plan is elliptical and the architectural surfaces are richly decorated, with ribbed Composite rectangular pilasters in grey and gold and frescoes by Louis Martinori dating from the 19th century restoration. The large painting over the altar depicting the Holy Family is by Francesco Trevisani, dating from the 18th century rebuilding." (Text from Churches of Rome Wiki).

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Thursday, Nov 2, 2017: On the walls of Palácio da Pena in Sintra, Portugal
Palácio da Pena
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