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The hidden history of one of the greatest treasures of the early Renaissance: Florence’s Brancacci chapel

In a review of Painted Glories by Nicholas Eckstein, Honor Clerk finds Florence’s intimate Brancacci chapel more thrilling than any blockbuster exhibition

10 January 2015

9:00 AM

10 January 2015

9:00 AM

Painted Glories: The Brancacci Chapel in Renaissance Florence Nicholas A. Eckstein

Yale, pp.282, £40

In 1439 Abraham of Souzdal, a Russian bishop visiting Florence, was in the audience in Santa Maria del Carmine for the famous Ascension play, arranged by the members of the lay confraternity, the Sant’Agnese. Sitting in the body of the church, Abraham looked up and saw, on top of one end of the huge stone choir screen, a castle with towers and ramparts, and at the other a Mount of Olives.

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