Today is International Archives Day! And on this day, when we celebrate the unparalleled wealth of knowledge represented by archives across the globe, the Italian Art Society would like to reveal this gem of a drawing from the Manuscript Collection of the National Library, Florence. Secreted in the library’s Fondo Tordi, this particular depiction of Saint Martin of Tours dividing his cloak for a beggar, graces the cover of a quattrocento ledger that once belonged to a Florentine confraternity called the Buonomini di San Martino. Founded in 1441 (Florentine Style) by Antonio Pierozzi (who would later become Saint Antoninus) and bankrolled into existence by Cosimo “Il Vecchio” de’ Medici and his associates, this confraternity, made up of a dozen good men of “diligence and faith,” catered to the needs of the poveri vergognosi (meaning ashamed poor or shame-faced poor): respectable people, who did not usually beg and who had temporarily fallen upon hard times. The confraternity still operates today and visitors to Florence may attend their little oratory in the Piazza San Martino, where they can view a cycle of frescoes executed by the workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Officers & Contacts