This film fulfills all of my greatest curiosities about Florence. As my journey through Florence’s rich history continues I am eager to present my next film. This is my fourth film and the second long format documentary since arriving in Florence in 2011.
Again, as I set out to make this film I had no pre conceived notion of how long the film would be. It became clear as I was following the work of the talented and dedicated restorers Elizabeth Wicks and Nicoletta Fontani, that the painting was speaking to all of us. It somehow went beyond art conservation and into social history.
For me what emerged was that the painting tells the underlying history of the Institute. It dawned on me that fhe Florentine founders of the Ospedale of the Innocenti, through this commissioned work, conveyed the message of the Institute’s mission.
What I learned, and I hope you learn watching this film, is that the painting tells a much wider story which extends far beyond the Innocenti and really helps us remember all that is good and noble about humanity.
While the Institute has an imperfect history I admire the human desire to “get things right” and what the renaissance Florentine humanist movement wanted to do within the Institute. They wanted to protect the weakest in their society and more importantly they wanted to include them.
Saving dying babies and making them citizens and productive members of Florentine society is a priority for humanists. This spirit of charity and mercy is infectious and has informed our society to this day.
Fundamentally, we understand that this particular style of Florentine charity has affected how other societies have used created their own model, laid out in the 1400’s, as the foundational principle to their own social systems.
It’s curious that a painting restoration has taught me so much about the Innocenti Institute and more so, about the values in a society striving to be fundamentally good and putting their civic duty and communal responsibility on display in very real and practical terms.