The courtyard of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi would perhaps have been a more austere space than we see today, when individuals from the Medicean golden age walked its stone-flagged floors. The Baroque decorations that are evident were, according to The Florentine, added by the Riccardi family during and after the seventeenth century.

Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons Licence.

Known as the Column Courtyard, the space was designed by Michelozzo di Bartolomeo and is described on the museum’s website as follows:

“It is the pulsing heart of the palace and stands out for its linear and balanced architecture: the ground-floor is bordered on each side by five-arch arcades above which stands a high frieze with sgraffito decorations; at the centre of the top course crowning each arcade is the impressive Medici coat of arms, sided by large-scale replicas of eight ancient cameos created by artists of Donatello’s workshop.
In the courtyard, visitors can admire the statue that depicts Orpheus Enchanting Cerberus with His Music, commissioned in 1519 to sculptor Baccio Bandinelli: a hallmark of harmony and pleasing balance.”

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