The Innocenti offered life; death was the alternative
“As early as 1421, the Innocenti Institute would anonymously take in abandoned children, most of whom were girls. Some of these babies were born out of wedlock, or, they were the result of wealthy men impregnating servants so they could become wet nurses for their own children. Then abandoned, they were left at the Institute, where the child was named, given Florentine citizenship and baptized,” explains Battistella. “Even if they did not survive, this would ‘save their souls’ because, according to the Renaissance thinking, unbaptized babies ended up in Limbo. Elsewhere in Italy, abandoned children were surnamed ‘Foundlings’ or worse, ‘Bastardini’ (little bastards). In Florence, they were called Innocenti, ‘Innocents’ and deserved a chance at life.”
Resident Filmmaker Davide Battistella will be present at the premiere screening. Battistella has made Florence his home since arriving from Canada in 2011, has made several films set in Florence covering subjects of daily work, faith, art history, and photography, as well as the work of Florentine artisans and contemporary artists.
In the words of the conservator
“Every conservation project is a journey of discovery. It is like peeling back the layers of history,” explains Elizabeth Wicks. “We had no idea when we began restoring Madonna of the Innocents of just how much mystery we would find behind that face, and how many discoveries we would make along the way. Paintings are not always what they seem on the surface. Only the restoration process, with its accompanying research and technical study, can provide us with the clues to really understand the image, even though, sometimes, the process raises more questions than it answers.”