This beautiful summer morning we drew a part of the Palazzo Ducale complex, the late sixteenth-century loggia by Bartolomeo Ammannati. Ammannati was a remarkable figure of the late Renaissance, having trained under Bacio Bandinelli in Florence, then working under Jacopo Sansovino in Venice (particularly on the sculptures of the Libreria Marciana on the Piazzetta di S. Marco). A sculptor by formation and talent, he found his way to architecture in the Rome of Julius III, particularly at the Villa Giulia but also the Palazzo di Firenze (formerly Medici), before returning to Florence. There he practiced as both sculptor (Neptune fountain, Piazza della Signoria) and architect (Palazzo Pitti); he was Michelangelo’s executor for the Laurentian Library stair.
Drawing a part of one of the façade bays in two-point perspective, we were concerned to both delineate and shade the subject accurately from our position on a bench in the Piazza Napoleone. Needless to say, we did not use sight-size, rather propping the sketchbook on our laps and constantly looking from subject to drawing, training the memory as well as the hand.
After the view (about half an hour) we quickly documented the molding profiles. On site drawing of architecture is both documentary and analytical, and Renaissance artists and architects dissected buildings as well as bodies.
Follow the progress in the images below. Can you name the sequences of molding profiles?
Note how Ammannati varies the sequences of moldings between the upper and lower cornices. Also note how the plane of the niche is recessed with respect to the plane of the stucco wall.