The Ospedale degli Innocenti (Hospital of the Innocents)
The Ospedale degli Innocenti (Hospital of the Innocents) was the first orphanage in Europe, and it is also known as the Spedale degli Innocenti in the old Tuscan dialect. This historic building was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, who is the father of Renaissance architecture. There are traces of humanism during the early Renaissance in Florence. It provided ongoing care for infants and children. The Art of Silk supported the hospital at the time of the Florentine Republic.
Since the hospital was a charitable institution, there was a responsibility for the welfare of children who were abandoned. Children were educated by masters who taught them reading and writing. Today, Ospedale degli Innocenti is a museum of the Renaissance art with notable artists like Domenico Ghirlandaio, Piero di Cosimo, Sandro Botticelli, Beato Angelio and Giambologna. The Gallery presents rich collections with paintings, detached frescoes, furniture pieces, and fascinating decorations. The façade of this building consists of 9 semicircular arches that spring from the Composite order columns. The semicircular windows give the impression of bringing down the building, towards the earth and this is a revival of the classical style.
One of the most beautiful paintings is The Adoration of the Magi by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-1494) made for the Hospital church. It portrays historical personalities related to the life of the Hospital by showing the adoration of the Child.
The Gallery exhibits a Madonna with Child by Botticelli, and this painting presents the Madonna protecting the children in front of the Hospital’s portico. Botticelli was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance. One of his most famous works is The Birth of Venus.
The historical building still remains an indicator of compassion and care. If you have a chance to visit Florence, it is a great opportunity to explore the city, which is the birthplace of the Renaissance with various examples of beautiful art and architecture. Ospedale degli Innocenti is one of the architectural milestones in Florence.
There are many figures and works of art in the hospital. You can have a look at the photos below.