Ansichtskarte Findelkinder (1)

Fassade "Innocenti", Florenz 

Der soziale Sinn der Florentiner ist sichtbar geblieben im grosszügigen Heim für Findelkinder (Ospedale delle Innocenti, entworfen 1419, gebaut 1421-1444), denen Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446), der beste Architekt seiner Zeit, einen modernen, grosszügigen Palast baute. Brunelleschi war der Baumeister und entwarf auch die elegante Loggia mit den glasierten Rundbildern aus Terracotta von Andrea della Robbia (1435-1525). Bei näherer Betrachtung fällt die dyproportionierte Darstellung der Kinder dar, deren Köpfe für Säuglinge viel zu klein sind, eine stylistische Besonderheit der Renaissance, die von der Realität des Kindes noch nicht richtig Kenntnis genommen hatte...

"In 1294, the General Council of the Florentine Population delegated responsibility for the care of the "innocenti" to a powerful guild in the city, the "Arte della Seta," or Silk Guild. For more than a century, the guild had had substantial experience in providing sanctuary for foundlings. In 1419, they requested and obtained the right to a bequest of 1000 florins to build a facility entirely for children. "Arte della Seta" planned to present the "Ospedale degli Innocenti" to Florence as a grand demonstration of their beneficence to the city. It also reflected the importance they assigned to the care of abandoned infants "deserted by their parents contrary to the law of nature". According to Saalman, "Ospedali" in Florence date back to the 13th century. Although "ospedale" or its diminutive, "spedale," may suggest a facility related to our modern hospital, it was closer to a hospice for the sick poor or a sanctuary for the abandoned or dispossessed, both young and old. Revenue came from bequests of money and land. The major "ospedali" were among the largest landholders of Florence in the 15th century. Designs of "ospedali" were derived from the typical elements of a monastery. The main components were a "chiesa," or church, and an "abituro," or dormitory, for the inhabitants along with service rooms. These surrounded a column-lined courtyard, or "cortile." Privacy and limited entry are requisite to the cloistered nature of a monastery. However, the functions of "ospedali" required greater traffic by patients, visitors, and workers. Thus a "loggia," a long open portico along the side of the structure, could allow entry to any area of the building and provide a place where the occupants could visit and watch the activities on the adjacent street, or "piazza." The Silk Guild chose Brunelleschi, one of their own members since 1404, to be the master builder, or "capomaestro." By 1419, Florentines knew him well as an inventor, a scholar of ancient architecture, and a sculptor and goldsmith.6 They were well aware of his model for the proposed dome of the Florence Cathedral, "Santa Maria del Fiore."
Both Battisti and Saalman provide excellent detailed accounts of the construction of the "Ospedale degli Innocenti." Brunelleschi’s design derives from the Tuscan Romanesque style but modified by "all’antica," a style derived from ancient Roman architecture. He was the first architect to organize a structure into a unified whole with all elements of the building including the spaces, walls, and supporting and supported members integrated by related measurements. In 1419, at age 41, Brunelleschi with the "Ospedale degli Innocenti" introduced a new concept of architecture into the Italian Renaissance.
None of Brunelleschi’s drawings have survived. It is a symmetrical building with the church on one side of the courtyard matched by the dormitory on the other. A long loggia presents the "Ospedale" to the piazza. Broad steps extending along its full length function as a transition between the piazza and the loggia and then to the building itself. The loggia is famous among architects and is clearly the prominent feature of the "Innocenti." Figure 3 shows a reconstruction of the elevation of Brunelleschi’s original design. Its 9 arches supported by 10 Corinthian columns present a perfectly proportioned, elegant welcoming entry to the building.
Regrettably, Brunelleschi was "capomaestro" of the "Ospedale" only until January 1427, 18 years before the completion of the building. Several events may have precipitated his departure. On 2 occasions, he had to leave Florence to help construct military defenses in Pistoia. More important, in August 1420, shortly after beginning the "Innocenti," Brunelleschi won the prized commission as "capomaestro" of the great dome of Florence Cathedral. It was an enormous project, and even now, close to 600 years later, it remains one of the extraordinary feats of architecture and engineering.6 In addition to those distractions, Battisti believes that a rift occurred between architect and the Silk Guild that culminated in Brunelleschi’s departure. That may well have been the decision to enlarge the hospital in a way that would have been contrary to Brunelleschi’s "all’antica" approach. At the outset, in an attempt to contain costs while building a grand structure, the Silk Guild minimized the size of the initial project. It was clear that more space was required to provide necessary services. The alteration of Brunelleschi’s symmetrical floor plan is shown by the lightly shaded outlines in Fig 2. It included kitchens; additional space above the loggia; refectories for both men and women; a column-lined courtyard for women, the "Cortile delle Donne"; and facilities for women in need of obstetric services. This required an additional entrance at the south end of the building. The addition distorted Brunelleschi’s carefully integrated symmetrical design of the building. Brunelleschi’s anonymous biographer reported that Brunelleschi at the formal inauguration of the building in January 1445 expressed dissatisfaction with the changes to his original design. A particular source of his displeasure was the alteration of his design of a molding that ran across the building above the arches. His successors had extended it downward at both ends of the building to its base. When he left as "capomaestro," Brunelleschi’s total stipend for his work was 55 florins, or approximately 2% of the >2800 florins required for the construction from 1419 to 1427.
Many changes occurred to the interior as well as the exterior of the building over the centuries. In the 1970s, the "Ospedale" was restored with modifications aimed at returning the building to some degree to its early 15th century state and at the same time modernizing it for current usage. Despite all of the alterations over the centuries, the loggia today retains the grace and elegance essentially as Brunelleschi designed it"


Das "Innocenti" war ein Waisenhaus und auch heute noch werden hier der Kindheit gewidmete Aktivitäten ausgeübt.