Can you believe it?
I discovered this on the Levant corridor of the Uffizi Gallery.
Have you ever heard about this particular kind of paintings called ” Grottesques ” ?
The name takes origin from Nerone’s Domus Aurea parietal paintings discovered in Rome in 1480 and visited by the most preminent artists of that time such as – Raffaello, Pinturicchio and Filippino Lippi who went inside the underground to see them and to be inspired by them. As they are under the ground this looked as a grotto , from this comes the name.
These special kind of frescoes on the Levant ceilings of the Uffizi Gallery corridor were commissioned by Francesco I dei Medici – Cosimo’s I son – in the second half of the XVI century are made of fantasy characters and full of symbolic meaning.
Almost at the end of the first corridor I found out this one :
a thoughtful man ( probably just Francesco I himself , who was suffering by depression ) with his foot on a globe and around him the natural remedies for the so called “melancholy”
…and so , which were the natural remedies of the people living in the Renaissance period ?
You could see them in the four rectangular scenes depicted around the central oval one:
Crystal therapy : the main character in these “grottesche” is an old man who suggests remedies to sick people:
in this scene a lady just came out from the disease ( to notice the empty stretcher behind her) she is wearing a ring with a stone as it was believed some particular stones could have a therapeutic effect on mind ( even Francesco I was passionate about the mineral’s study )
Herbal extracts : in this scene the sick man is laying on some curative plants that were considered to be very helpful against melancholy
Water : the old man urges the sick man to drink water : so , another natural element necessary to purify body & mind
Sport : the old man playing ball with the young , sick man.
The importance of the sport to fight against the so called ” black bile” = melancholy.
The author of these stunning images is Alessandro Allori ( 1535 -1607 ) a very well known painter at the Medici court of which you could find other paintings in the Uffizi Gallery and in Palazzo Pitti.
I’d love to hear from psychiatrists their opinion about these interesting paintings: I am sure most of these remedies are still in use even nowadays, right?
Thank you for your attention nose up and hope your next time at the Uffizi you will look up to find these scenes and think of me!😉❤️
If you want to know more about the Uffizi corridors in this beautiful book you could find everything in it, written by Valentina Conticelli and Francesca de Luca by Giunti Editore.