The California Patrons kicked off the new year on January 17, 2013 with a wonderful tour of the remarkable “Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance” exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Brentwood. Over 70 members–the largest number of California Patrons to gather for a tour–enjoyed a gorgeous afternoon in 80 degree heat with clear views of the Pacific from the Getty hilltop. We gathered in the central lobby to don our headsets so that our guides could speak to each of us without raising their voices. We divided into two groups for a more manageable size. The curator of the exhibition, Christine Sciacca, and the assistant curator for the exhibition, Bryan Keene, each led a group through the beautifully presented objects. Each proved a dynamic and knowledgeable guide to the fascinating world of Florence in the early 1300s. Christine assembled the exhibition over a six year period. It contains seven works by Giotto, the most ever assembled in North America. In addition, the exhibition included works by painters Bernardo Daddi and Taddeo Gaddi and painter-illuminators Pacino di Bonaguida, the Master of the
Dominican Effigies, and the Master of the Codex of Saint George. We viewed one of the earliest illuminated copies of Dante’s Divine Comedy, and most of the surviving leaves from the Laudario of Sant’Agnese, the most important illuminated manuscript commission of the early 1300s. Quite an assemblage!