The De Matteis work,in the Porta Rossa Hotel of Florence
T he hall and living room of this historical establishment (first mentioned in 1386, known since 1858 as the "Locanda Porta Rossa"), still present in the original architectural decoration stained glasses. Those artworks are signed by the Ulisse De Matteis atelier, and probably by De Matteis itself, around 1900. Its workshop, founded in Florence in 1859, had a great role in many public monuments restoration in Florence.
Ulisse De Matteis was born in Florence in 1828, and made studies in the Accademia di Belle Arti of Florence. Its professor was Stefano Ussi, few months prisoner of war with him, during the first italian independance war against Austria, at the end of 1840. Initially painter few year, het made a much longer career as glass Master. With him, his brothers and his wife worked in the workshop, via Guelfa, since 1859.
About his activity, we have an obituary, published in Corriere della sera in 1910, and a catalogue, published after his death, by his successor as artistic director in the Workshop, Ezio Giovanozzi. A lot of orders and achievements ar known, as well in the private and in the public domain. The company was implied in restoration and reconstitution of stained glasses in Santa Maria Novella, a Nativity, and the large stained glass of the of apse. At the same time, during this restoration, took place the creation of Hotel Porta Rossa stained glasses.
Mainly inspired by the Rinascimento, these stained glasses are very coherent with the general style of the Bartolini Palate, and very close to four other stained glasses, now conserved in Birmingham in the United States, as well by style and tonalities. These kind if "reproductions" of Renaissance paintings and topics gave to the De Matteis Atelier a lot of succes, because they were easily marketable, for prived people or public institutions. The Risorgimento and the Renaissance style made the atelier richness.
In the Hotel, each glazed hall access door is made in two leafs: on each are representation of winged woman faces, imitaiting the traditional late roman style style in ceramics.
The séparés dividing the reception of the living room, made in walnut wood, carry Boticelli inspired representations, by Venere, now in the Uffizi Museum, and Flora, now in the Chantilly Museum
In the middle of living room ceiling, a polychrome stained glass covers what was formerly an interior court, transforming it into a jardin d'hiver. In its center, the red door, POrta Rossa, not only symbol of the Hotel, but also of the street and the Arte della Seta, which had its Middle Ages there. Everything resounds agreeably with the Renaissance style of the palate decoration.