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THE DUOMO (PART III)

The pulpit is ornamented by a cycle of refined carved panels depicting the life of Jesus Christ. It is supported by nine solid columns made of granite, green marble and porphyry with marvellous carved capitals. Four of them are upheld by lions with their related cubs and captures. The central column is set on a series of tiny statues representing the Seven Arts and the Philosophy. 
The pulpit is the earliest enduring art work in Siena’s Duomo and is believed Pisano’s masterpiece. With this brilliant and innovative work Nicola and Giovanni Pisano marked a turning point in Italian sculpture analogous to that represented in painting by the work of Giovanni Pisano’s coetaneous, the brilliant Giotto di Bondone.
The beautiful staircase which leads to the pulpit was constructed in 1534 by the renowned Sienese architect, painter and sculptor Bartolomeo Neroni (nicknamed “Il Riccio”, 1500 ca. - 1571 ca.). Neroni also suggested moving the pulpit from its original location on the Choir to the current one. Because of the pulpit was raised on an exquisite octagonal marble platform.

The outstanding Chapel of San Giovanni Battista is located in the left transept. At the rear of the Chapel stands the impressive bronze statue of St. John the Baptist created by the illustrious Donatello (Florence, 1386 – Florence, 1466). In the centre of the Chapel there is a beautiful baptismal font from the 15th century. The magnificent chapel is decorated by eight frescoes by Pinturicchio, from 1504 to1505. Some of the frescoes constitute a cycle depicting episodes of the life of St. John the Baptist. The other two frescoes are wonderful portraits devoted to Alberto Aringhieri, an important exponent of Siena’s govern, who in 1480 was nominated superintendent of the work in the Duomo, commissioning subsequently the paintings in the Chapel from Pinturicchio. Those portraits represent epic scenes related to Aringhieri’s life.
Two of the frescoes were restored in the 17th century and another one ought to be replaced by a replica in the second half of the 19th century.

The small and magnificent Chigi Chapel, also known as the Cappella della Madonna del Voto, is located in the right transept. This Chapel was the last structure which was built in the indoors of the Cathedral of Siena (1659) replacing a former chapel from the 15th century.
It construction was commissioned by Pope Alessandro VII (born Fabio Chigi, Siena, 1599 – Rome, 1667). The circular chapel has a stunning gilded Cupola, which was executed by the prestigious German baroque artist Johann Paul Schor (1615-1674) after a design of the brilliant sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Naples, 1598- Rome, 1680).
Bernini sculptured two of the four marble statues which ornament the Chapel: the ones devoted to San Girolamo and Santa Maria Maddalena.
The other two statues representing San Bernardino of Siena  and  Santa Caterina of Siena were respectively created by the well-known Lombard sculptors Antonio Raggi (Como,1624 – Rome, 1686) and Ercole Ferrata (Como, 1610- Rome, 1685), both of them exponents of the Roman baroque style.
The superb columns of the Chapel were brought from the Palazzo Laterano, Rome, while the sophisticated entrance gate is an anonymous work.    
At the rear of the Chapel stands the wonderful statue of the Madonna del Voto (Scuola di Siena, 13th century).

The Duomo opens for visits from Monday to Sunday: 10:30 am to 7:30pm, and from 10:30 to 6:30 pm from November to March.
The admission ticket is 5 euros.

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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