The Palazzo Vecchio, 1298-1532: Government, Architecture, and Imagery in the Civic Palace of the Florentine Republic

The Palazzo Vecchio, 1298-1532: Government, Architecture, and Imagery in the Civic Palace of the Florentine Republic

The Palazzo Vecchio, 1298-1532: Government, Architecture, and Imagery in the Civic Palace of the Florentine Republic

The Palazzo Vecchio, 1298-1532: Government, Architecture, and Imagery in the Civic Palace of the Florentine Republic

Synopsis

Nicolai Rubinsteins's unique command of the complexities of Florentine political history has resulted in an extremely impressive study of the Palazzo Vecchio and the way in whch it functioned as the seat of the Florentine republican government from the late thirteenth century to 1530. Professor Rubinstein's study makes a fundamental contribution to the subject and arrives at a number of new and important conclusions.

Excerpt

The idea for this book grew out of my study of the government of Florence under the Medici, published in 1966. The records of meetings in the palace of the Signoria, the Palazzo Vecchio, of magistracies, committees, and councils often refer to the rooms in which the meetings were held; and what I began as a random collection of notes on the use to which the palace was put during the fifteenth century, turned into a systematic enquiry embracing the entire period from the building of the palace to the abolition of the republican constitution in 1532. During the long gestation of this book, which much of the time has gone on side by side with work on other subjects, I have incurred so many debts that it would be impossible for me to acknowledge them all individually. I have endeavoured to express, in the notes, my thanks for specific indications of source materials, but the obligations I have incurred to friends and colleagues for help of diverse nature cannot even distantly be repaid by these acknowledgements.

From the very beginning of my interest in the evolution of the palace, the architects in charge of the fabric, first Piero Micheli and then Ugo Muccini, have generously helped me with their expert knowledge of its structure and have made it possible for me to view those of its rooms which are not accessible to the public. The staff of the Florentine State Archives has rendered me the continuous assistance which is so invaluable to research on Florentine history. Without the library of the Warburg Institute this book would not have been written; my friends at the Warburg Institute have been endlessly and patiently helpful in discussing with me scholarly and technical problems of many kinds.

For help with the illustrations I am greatly indebted to the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, which undertook a photographic campaign in the Palazzo Vecchio on my behalf, and to the curator of its photographic collection, Irene Hueck, to the Musei Comunali of Florence and their director, Fiorenza Scalia, and to Paul Davies, who kindly took a number of photographs for me. I should also like to thank all the friends who offered me their help and advice in the preparation of the illustrative material; special thanks are due to Ian Jones of the photographic studio of the Warburg Institute.

Among the many friends who over the years have contributed to this book, I owe particular gratitude to Caroline Elam for her generosity in sharing with me the results of her own researches, for her incisive comments, and for encouraging me in persisting with a project which involved my venturing into the field of architectural history. I should also especially like to thank for their help Maria Monica Donato, Michael Hirst, Kate Lowe, and Diane Zervas.

For the completion of this book, my warmest thanks must go to Joe Trapp, whose unfailingly critical reading of the text in consecutive versions and whose indefatigable help with editorial problems went far beyond the normal duties of an editor. I am grateful to Shayne Mitchell for compiling the index and for helping me with proof-reading. I should also like to express my . . .

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