On to Florence - and Masaccio

   For Florence's 'big two' attractions, the Uffizi and the Accademia, it always makes sense to book on line ahead of the visit.  For most  other venues the trick is - find out the opening time (usually 10 a.m.) and get there early. Not only will you avoid the queues, you will be able to look at the art without too many heads in the way, and get a feel for the location. This is particularly true of places where the art is still in its original location, such as the monastery of San Marco and . . . the Brancacci chapel. 

  The Brancacci frescos were begun around 1426 by Masolino with his young associate Masaccio. It is Masaccio's frescos that are the most celebrated. 
  Probably the most famous image is the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. The version on the left below shows this before the cleaning carried out in the 1980s; on the right is the view today. 

 So why was this image censored, when, and by whom?
  The answer to the last question is - this rather unattractive character. 

Grand Duke Cosimo III of Tuscany: Jan Frans van Douven
Private collection

  In contrast to his illustrious forebears, Cosimo III (1642 - 1723) was a meanspirited and narrow-minded bigot. He did all he could to rein in the amorous enterprises of the young men of Florence (not a popular move), and did not approve of nudity. The cover-up was carried out around 1670.
  So was Renaissance humanism over and done with? Or could it be that Cosimo's cover-up was actually informed by theology?

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