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’A bizarre and whimsical temperament’. Giovanni da San Giovanni, a maverick painter at the Medici court

Giovanni from San Giovanni returns to his hometown. The Museo delle Terre Nuove and the Museum of the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie in San Giovanni Valdarno host an exhibition featuring ten portable frescoes on matting, a technique that sealed the fame of the seventeenth-century painter.


The unbreakable bond between the artist and his homeland, from which the painter even derives his name, is renewed with a new exhibition by Terre degli Uffizi. The exhibition unfolds as a summary journey through the art of the neo-Mannerist painter with ten round paintings on terracotta, the artist’s signature material, hosted in the Museo delle Terre Nuove and the Museum of the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

Among the artists favored by the Medici family, Giovanni Mannozzi (1592-1636), known to history as Giovanni da San Giovanni, emerges from the dark virtuosity of the movement of his century, Mannerism, for the airiness of his brushstrokes and the gentle freshness of color. The neo-Hellenistic taste and irreverent humor of the painter, combined with the ability to execute works “quickly and well,” manifest in the round paintings exhibited in the show in a lively flow of delicate and luminous forms, making the enjoyment of his paintings an ethereal experience.

His fresco painting made him highly appreciated by prestigious Florentine and Roman patrons, allowing him to cultivate a special relationship with the Grand Dukes: commissioned by the Medici, Giovanni executed one of his early Florentine works, the lost fresco in Piazza della Calza, and his last endeavor, the decoration of the Silver Room in Palazzo Pitti, interrupted by his untimely death.

It is precisely the relationship between the artist and a member of the Medici family, Prince Don Lorenzo, son of Ferdinando I, that marks the exhibition: for the first time, eight round paintings executed by Giovanni Mannozzi for the Villa della Petraia around 1634 will be displayed in series, accompanied by two other rounds created for the Villa di Pratolino and other works related to these commissions.

Another aspect that the exhibition highlights is the natural connection with the city of San Giovanni Valdarno and with the works of the same artist and others close to him preserved there: foremost among them, the paintings housed in the Museum of the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie. These works testify to Giovanni’s presence in his hometown between 1620 and 1621 and document his significant participation in the complex work of renovation and beautification of the Oratory, begun in the early seventeenth century.


Opening hours:

Tuesday to Friday
3:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Saturday and Sunday
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM

One ticket admits holder to both exhibition venues and to the two museums



From October 8, 2023, to March 31, 2024


San Giovanni Valdarno
Museo delle Terre Nuove
Piazza Cavour, 1

Museo della Basilica
di Santa Maria delle Grazie
Piazza Masaccio, 8