The exhibition Il Rigore e la Grazia. La compagnia di San Benedetto Bianco nel Seicento fiorentino (Rigour and Grace. The Confraternity of San Benedetto Bianco in 17th-century Florence) at the Palatine Chapel of the Pitti Palace displays a collection of little-known works by artists of the 17th century.
Almost all works are from the heritage of the Confraternity of San Benedetto Bianco, established in 1357 and one of the most important and prestigious Florentine lay groups. At the centre of the Confraternity’s spirituality was the sacrifice of Christ, a recurring theme in the works commissioned and purchased by the Confraternity.
Among the artists represented are Ferdinando Tacca, Agostino Melissi, Cristofano Allori, Lorenzo Lippi, Mario Balassi and Matteo Rosselli. All works have recently been fully restored.
The space now occupied by the Palatine Chapel at the ground floor of the Pitti Palace was once part of the apartments of the Medici family, Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III de’ Medici being one of them. In 1765 Leopold, Duke of Lorraine, ordered the great hall of the apartment to be transformed into the a chapel.
The Palatine Chapel has always remained a place of worship, but was open to the public only on rare occasions. The exhibition Il Rigore e la Grazia gives the visitor of the Pitti Palace a unique opportunity to admire the chapel from the inside.