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The pictorial cycle on the facades

Francesco Datini died on 16 August 1410 and in that year, his friend ser Lapo Mazzei and the rectors of the Ceppo decided to celebrate the life of the Prato merchant and benefactor with sixteen stories frescoed on the external façade of the palazzo. Niccolò Gerini, Ambrogio di Baldese, Scolaio di Giovanni, Alvaro di Piero (Alvaro Pirez d'Evora) and Lippo d'Andrea were commissioned to execute the scenes and decorative motifs.

The commission envisaged frescoes covering an area of 2,200 square ells on marble; besides the sixteen painted stories, the artists were to execute six Ceppi emblems on a silver background with gold lilies, in addition to 15 smaller emblems on other properties: 8 florins were paid for each “story”; the large emblems were paid one and a half florins each, the smaller ones 20 soldi; the marble frescoes were paid 5 soldi per square ell.

A total of 278 florins, 5 soldi and 10 dinars was paid to which over 60 florins were added for the purchase of the gold and colours necessary. The same painters were also entrusted with the “dipintura del tetto”, for a total of 464 ells “a piano”.

Of the remarkable pictorial apparatus a few sinopias of the stories remain together with many of the decorations, preserved inside the palazzo.