On Giorgio Vasari’s 510th birthday

Leone X elegge il suo nuovo collegio di cardinali, 1555-1563

On the eastern side of the Palazzo Vecchio, next to the Hall of the Five Hundred, are the apartments that were once devoted to the offices of court and guests of the principality: the Quarters of Leo X on the lower floor and the Quarters of the Elements upstairs. These were constructed as part of the works ordered by Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici to extend the palace, and were therefore known as the new quarters. The works were begun by Battista del Tasso in the mid-1500s and were continued between 1555 and 1563 by Giorgio Vasari and a number of associates, including the painters Marco da Faenza, Cristofano Gherardi, and Giovanni Stradano. The distinctive feature of the two quarters is the perfectly matched shape and size of the rooms on the first and second floors. This symmetry is part of an iconographic scheme for decorating the rooms devised by the scholar Cosimo Bartoli. Each of the rooms in the Quarters of Leo X is dedicated to an illustrious figure from the Medici family and depicts their most significant feats. Each of these rooms is matched on the floor above by a room dedicated to one of the main pagan deities, the idea being to compare the “terrestrial gods” of the reigning dynasty with the lineage of the “heavenly deities.” The first room of the quarters is dedicated to Cosimo the Elder, to whom the Medici family was indebted for securing the family’s prestige in the 15th century.
Via Google Arts & Culture.

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