On This Day (22 December) in 1490 the Capella Maggiore of Santa Maria Novella was Opened.

By Samantha Hughes-Johnson.

On this day (22 December) in 1490 (according to the Florentine apothecary and diarist, Luca Landucci) the Capella Maggiore of Santa Maria Novella was opened. 

“Domenico Ghirlandaio had painted it, at the order of Giovanni Tornabuoni… the painting alone cost 1000 gold florins.”  

Born Domenico di Tommaso Bigordi in 1449, Ghirlandaio was so-called as his father was a maker of gold and silver garlands.  According to the biographer and polymath, Giorgio Vasari, Ghirlandaio trained under Alesso Baldovinetti and worked also as an assistant to Andrea del Vercocchio. Domenico subsequently went on to preside over an extremely busy workshop that included his brothers, Davide and Benedetto, his brother-in-law Sebastiano Mainardi, and notably a youthful Michelangelo Buonarroti. 

References: Jean K. Cadogan, Domenico Ghirlandaio: Artist and Artisan, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000.

Luca Landucci, A Florentine Diary from 1450-1516 by Luca Landucci, Continued by An Anonymous Writer ‘Til 1542 With Notes by Iodoco del Badia. Trans. Alice de Rosen Jervis, London: J. M. Dent and Sons, 1927.

Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the Artists. Translated with an introduction and notes by Julia Conway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. 

Images: View of the Tornabuoni Chapel. Wikimedia Commons.

Domenico Ghirlandaio, The Expulsion of Joachim from the Temple, 1486-90, fresco, Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence. 

Massacre of the Innocents, 1486-90, fresco, Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence. 

The Presentation at the Temple, 1486-90, fresco, Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence. 

The Marriage of the Virgin, 1486-90, fresco, Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence. 

The Nativity of Mary, 1486-90, fresco, Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence. 

Apparition of the Angel to Zachariah, 1486-90, fresco, Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence. 

The Visitation, 1486-90, fresco, Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence. 

The Birth of John the Baptist, 1486-90, fresco, Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence. 

The Baptism of Christ, 1486-90, fresco, Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence. 

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