THE DUOMO (PART II)
In the 19th century, the façade was ornamented with gold-laden Venetian mosaics.
In 1958, the main portal of the Cathedral was replaced by a carved bronze main door with scenes depicting the Glorification of the Holy Virgin, created by the celebrated Italian sculptor Enrico Manfrini (Lugo, 1917-Milan, 2004)
The indoors of the Cathedral are admirably designed. The walls and columns of its single and immense nave keep on having the white and black marble bands of colours of the adjacent Campanile and Baptistery.
Between the 15th and the16th centuries the moulding around the nave and the presbytery was decorated with 172 plaster popes busts, from St. Peter until Pope Lucius III. The vaulted ceiling is painted in blue and ornamented with golden stars. The interior of the impressive hexagonal Cupola is crowned with a gilded giant lamp, which looks like a real sun.
In 1532, the celebrated architect and sculptor Baldassarre Peruzzi (Siena, 1481- Rome, 1536) built the magnificent marble High Altar of the presbytery. The candelabras-carrying angels which flanked the High Altar were created by the renowned sculptor and painter Francesco di Giorgio Martini (Siena, 1439 – Siena, 1502). Those magnificent sculptures are considered Renaissance masterpieces.
The Duomo hosts many important artworks like, for example, the works created by the very young Michelangelo (the statue of St. Peter) by Donatello (the statue in the Chapel of St. John the Baptist) and by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (the statues in the Chigi Chapel).
It houses as well several outstanding funeral monuments, like: the one of the Cardinal Riccardo Petroni, created from 1317 and 1318 by the famous sculptor Tino di Camaino (Siena, 1280 – Naples, 1337); the bronzed tombstone of Bishop Giovanni di Bartolomeo Pecci by Donatello (1427) and the wall tomb of Bishop Tommaso Piccolomini carved by the talented painter and sculptor Neroccio de Landi (Siena, 1447 – Siena, 1500) and placed over the door conducting to the Campanile
Nevertheless, the unquestionable masterpiece is the marvellous flooring, which presents a mosaic of 59 painted and inlaid marble panels meticulously laboured between 1372 and 1547. They were created by several of the most celebrated Italian artists of those ages, all of them exponents of the prestigious Scuola di Siena, like Domenico di Bartolo (Asciano, 1400 ca. - Siena, 1477 ca,); Matteo di Giovanni (Borgo San Sepolcro, 1430 ca. – Siena, 1495); Pinturicchio (byname of Bernardino di Betto, Verona, 1452 – Siena, 1513) and Domenico Beccafumi (Castel Monteaperto, 1486 ca. - Siena, 1551).
The floor panel which ornaments the left transept of the Cathedral is the spectacular “Massacre of the Innocents”, created in 1481 by the brilliant painter Matteo di Giovanni. Other masterpieces by di Giovanni can be seen in the Palazzo Pubblico and in the 13th century Basilica di Santa Maria dei Servi.
The most treasured flooring mosaics in the Duomo are usually covered, like the ones under the transepts and the apse, except from 7th to 22nd August in honour of The Palio.
Between 1266 and 1268 Nicola Pisano, already assisted by his son Giovanni, had designed and conducted the work of the outstanding Gothic octagonal high pulpit in Carrara marble. In the pulpit can be seen the uniquely Italian assimilation of French and northern Gothic influences experimented by Nicola Pisano and by his then very young son.
CONTINUE < 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 >
What to See
The Cathedrals : Duomo di Siena
Main Monuments : Piazza del Campo , Palazzo Piccolomini
Main Museums : Museo dell' Opera di Siena , Museo dei Fisiocritici
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