Pontormo, Le Corbusier, and the Galluzzo Charterhouse
The Galluzzo Charterhouse (also known as Florence Charterhouse) is an old Cistercian monks’ monastery built after 1341.
Accordig to Giorgio Vasari’s famous
Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, the great Tuscan painter Jacopo Carucci (1494-1557), known as Pontormo, took refuge here to escape the black plague during the epidemic that swept across Florence, then under the Medici family, from 1522 to 1523. He stayed inside the beautiful abbey
because, on top of being usually slow to complete his works, Jacopo liked the Charterhouse’s solitude.
The works Vasari is talking about are the “Scenes from the Passion” frescoes, inspired by block prints by Albrecht Dürer and painted for the main cloister’s lunettes. Masterpieces that today are kept in the monastery’s gallery.
Le Corbusier was very fond of the Galluzzo Charterhouse as well. He carefully studied the monks’ cells and living quarters. Professor Eugenio Gentili Tedeschi has underscored that the sketches drawn by the great French architect during his visit (
an important moment in his life)
bear testimony to his growing interest for organized space, and were the seed of his later studies on housing units, from Maison Dom-Ino to Immeubles-Villas; they were the starting point for the process that would lead to Unité d’Habitation, and find a noteworthy conclusion in the Convent of La Tourette (VV.AA., “Le Corbusier in Italia”, Maggioli, Santarcangelo di Romagna 2007).