It is uncommon to find a museum that exclusively houses the work of only two artists, especially if each of their work doesn’t relate in theme nor in time. The Marino Marini Museum is exactly that. The building for the museum was formerly San Pancrazio’s Church where the Sacellum for the Holy Sepulchre was built by Alberti for the Rucellai family . Over time, it went from being a lottery house, a tobacco factory and finally, the contemporary art museum for Marini’s art.
Leon Battista Alberti was a Renaissance architect who also designed the facade of the Palazzo Rucellai and that of the Santa Maria Novella Church. The geometric marble patterns of the church can be directly related to the patterns seen on the exterior of the Holy sepulchre located at the left side of the museum.
However, most of the museum is devoted to Marino Marini, a sculptor known for being a figurative modern artist. During the fifties, there were artists who under the predominant abstract expressionist art, continued to deal with figure but in an expressive manner. With his bronze sculptures, Marini combined tradition with modernity.
Finally, the architectural adaptations that were made make the viewers’ tour a very interesting one. The many interventions throughout the centuries come in contrast with the most recent addition of contemporary pathways and bridges at different heights. The architecture of the place itself, Alberti’s sepulchre, and Marini’s work make this museum a unique experience.
Fun facts: The circle patterns around Alberti’s sepulchre are all different from one another. Among these, you can find the Rucellai symbol. It was built to resemble that in Jerusalem where it is believed that Jesus’ body was laid. Coincidentally, Jesus’ tomb inside the Jerusalem sepulchre was just re-exposed this past week after centuries of been covered.
Luisa Rodriguez is a post-baccalaureate student who has studied in Honduras and at Santa Fe University of Art and Design.