Tuesday, February 22, 2011

University of South Carolina Concert Choir performs at Santa Maria Maggiore (Florence) on Sunday, March 6 at 8:15 PM

The University of South Carolina Concert Choir from Columbia, South Carolina, will perform a feature concert at Santa Maria Maggiore in Florence at 8:15PM on Sunday, March 6, 2011. Florence’s Santa Maria Maggiore was originally built as early as the eighth century, with documentation tracing back to the year 931. Popular legend suggests that it may have been constructed in A.D. 580 under the commission of Pope Pelagius, although this theory is not widely supported. The church obtained status of collegiate church and Priory of Florence in 1176 before subsequently expanding its property in 1186. The structure, with the exception of the original external walls and the vaults, was completely renovated in the 13th century to reflect the Gothic style architecture popular of that period. Italian architect and painter Giorgio Vasari is quoted as crediting “Master Buono” as the designer of the new façade and also recorded that following the renovation the high altar then boasted Agnolo Gaddi’s Coronation of the Virgin as well as frescoes by Spinello Aretino. Only fragments of these works survive today.
The exterior of the current structure appears rather simple and undecorated, with stone walls and portals adorned by tympana. The bell tower, which survives from the original Romanesque building, displays an embedded stone head popularly known as Berta. Although the interior appears quite simple, with just a nave and two aisles, the walls flaunt various intricate works of art. Artworks include frescoes by Bernardino Poccetti, a nativity scene constructed by Matteo Rosselli, and a wooden polychrome bas-relief attributed to Coppo di Marcovaldo.

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