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An interlude in Pisa: Castelfiorentino (1484 and 1490 - 1491)



Saint Verdiana, Castelfiorentino Town Hall.

Saint Verdiana, Castelfiorentino Town Hall.

During his career, Benozzo had engaged various times in the decoration of tabernacle/oratory monuments (in Certaldo and Legoli). However, the two most significant examples, in terms of their situation on main roads used by travellers and pilgrims and their size and commission, were perhaps the ones he frescoed in Castelfiorentino, both commissioned by the prior of Castelnuovo, Messer Grazia di Francesco, one in 1484, dedicated to the Madonna of the Cough, and the other in 1490-1491, created in collaboration with his sons, Francesco and Alesso, usually known as the Madonna of the Visitation.
At the time of the decoration of the Tabernacle of the Visitation, Benozzo and his sons also painted another fresco - the Saint Verdiana - which is still housed in Castelfiorentino Town Hall. This is of lesser solemnity but considerable local importance, being one of the area’s most ancient testimonies to the worship of this figure, depicted, according to traditional iconography, as a nun dressed in a dark habit accompanied by her characteristic attributes, namely the snakes and a little wicker basket.