When I think about the story of my family, the painters like Cosimo and Bernardo, Francesco the printmaker, my own humble work makes more sense to me. Stefano di [son of] Giovanni Rosselli is an ancestor I didn't know about. He was a scholar ( the term antiquario now refers to antique dealers but it used to mean an antiquity scholar) and interested in many fields, and he saw fit to spend seven years of his life wandering around churches in Florence and mapping all the tombs.
Indeed a jolly pursuit, but the resulting book, his Book of the Deads, which included notes on the deceased and on the architecture and history of the chapels and churches he visited, is an invaluable source of information for historians and art historians. He included stories of Florentine personalities and their families and drawings of coat of arms and monuments.
Very few inaccurate copies of the book were available in some Florentine institutions and in the Biblioteca degli Intronadi in Siena. Now the art historian and archivist Michelina di Stasi has studied and transcribed the scribble-like text of the original as well as investigated the life of Stefano and the cult of the deads from pagan times to Christianity.
The resulting book, "Stefano di Francesco Rosselli, Antiquario Fiorentino del XVII Secolo ed il suo Sepoltuario", includes a cd with reproductions of the whole of the original manuscript. It will be presented on Friday the 28th of February in the most apt location, the Museo delle Cappelle Medicee by an illustrious panel including the Special Superintendent for the Arts Cristina Acidini and by Antonio Paolucci, current director of the Vatican Museums, who also wrote the introduction.
I am very proud of the huge volunteer work my father has done in the past thirty years to preserve and promote our heritage in a nation that squanders its artistic riches such as Italy. In the past he has organised a wide variety of events, open days of historic private houses, dozens of conferences, and conventions, conservation workshops and restorations, often battling short-sighted public administrations and an ever present lack of funds. I wish there were more people like him in Italy !