Virgin with Child and Adoring Angles statue on Florence’s Duomo is seen in color for the first time: Restorations reveal teals, browns and reds on what was thought to be white marble

  • Restorations of Florence’s Duomo uncovered traces of color on the Virgin with Child and Adoring Angles of marble statues located at the top of the doors in the front
  • It was long believed that the figures were created in natural white marble to match the exterior
  • The traces of color were revealed during a restoration of the north side that started in September 2021

Florence’s Duomo is still revealing new secrets – restorations uncovered traces of once hidden color on the Virgin with Child and Adoring Angles marble sculptures.

While cleaning 10,000 square feet of the marble, teams uncovered the brown iris of Mary’s left eye, the bluish-green and red of her cloak and the rich brocade pattern, designed to mimic woven fabric, on the gown worn by the Christ Child. 

Museums directors had long believed the statues were created in natural white marble to match the Duomo’s exterior of white, pink and green marble, never did experts ever think there would be such coloring.

The restoration, which cleaned 10,000 square feet of the cathedral, determined a layer of brown oxalate had been applied to the marble to protect the structure, but this also covered up the colors.

The spectacular find suggests that other sculpture groups positioned around the church may also feature colors that have yet to be revealed.

Restorations began in September 2021 and focused on the north side because this area is heavily degraded by erosion from rainwater runoff, deposits of surface dirt, black sulfurous encrustations and bird feces 

Teams spent the time cleaning 10,000 square feet of the north side, revealing colors that had been hiding, such as the brown iris of Mary’s left eye

Restorations began in September 2021 and focused on the north side because this area is heavily degraded by erosion from rainwater runoff, deposits of surface dirt, black sulfurous encrustations and bird feces.

The Duomo, also called Florence Cathedral or Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, was the world’s largest church when it was consecrated in 1436 – it has a capacity for 30,000 people.

Construction began in 1293, but was not finished for more than 140 years due to architects leaving, dying and expanding the building of the dome, which required more time to complete.

The dome, however, is an iconic feature of the Duomo, featuring two layers: an inner shell stretching the diameter and a parallel outer shell to protect it from the weather.

Approximately 24 stone half arches support both shells, or ribs, which taper and meet at an open stone compression ring at the top. 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=h-tstVgYEy4%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D1%26hl%3Den-US

The Florence Duomo, also known as Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, is located in Duomo Square. An estimated 4.5 million people visit the cathedral 

In the 1950s, a layer of brown oxalate had been applied to the marble to protect the structure, but this also covered up the colors

The restoration has cleaned the statues, revealing their intricate details covered in bird feces. Teams found the bluish-green and red of Mary’s cloak and the rich brocade pattern, designed to mimic woven fabric, on the gown worn by the Christ Child

Only eight ribs are visible on the exterior, giving the dome an octagonal shape recalling the nearby 11th-century Baptistery of San Giovanni.

The Madonna and Child with Adoring Angels are featured directly above the large front door, and the imagery has been part of Florence’s history for centuries.

This is because Fra Filippo Lippi, who lived in Florence during the 1400s, was deemed the patron said of Madonna and Child with Two Angels.

He was a monk and a painter who created several artworks using what is seen hanging above the Duomo doors. 

Duomo museum director Timothy Verdon told ANSA: ‘It reminds us that Florence at the end of the 14th century and beginning of the 15th was a very colorful city. 

‘The cathedral also had painted statues with gilding on the wings of angels and on clothing – thus, a celebration.’ 

‘A celebration that we forgot and are beginning to rediscover.

The bishop of Florence, Giuseppe Betori, said: ‘It can seem strange that so much importance has been given to the door of a church. But, in reality.

The Madonna and Child with Adoring Angels are featured directly above the large front door, and the imagery has been part of Florence’s history for centuries. Pictured is one of the angels

This is because Fra Filippo Lippi, who lived in Florence during the 1400s, was deemed the patron said of Madonna and Child with Two Angels

The spectacular find suggests that other sculpture groups positioned around the church may also feature colors that have yet to be revealed

The dome is an iconic feature of the Duomo, featuring two layers: an inner shell stretching the diameter and a parallel outer shell to protect it from the weather

‘The door of a church is very important since it is the connection between what is celebrated inside the building and the normal life of people.’ 

From 2017 to the present day, the museum has invested more than 1.5 million in restoration projects of the Duomo. 

The entire structure measures 524 feet in length and 141 feet wide. The design includes more than four million bricks and weighs over 40,000 tons.

And an estimated 4.5 million people flock to see its beauty every year. 

Source: Read Full Article