Home Arts The spectacular floor of Siena Cathedral has been temporarily uncovered

The spectacular floor of Siena Cathedral has been temporarily uncovered

by godlove4241
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Until July 31 and from August 18 to October 18, 2023, Siena Cathedral reveals its inlaid marble floor, one of the most amazing artistic creations in Italy, but so fragile that it usually needs to be covered to avoid that it does not wear out.

Few churches in the world match Siena Cathedral for splendor and centuries-old layering of artistic masterpieces. Nicola Pisano, the supreme sculptor of medieval Italy, adorned it with a pulpit in 1259, while his son Giovanni studded the façade with splendid statues. Sublime works by Duccio da Buoninsegna, Lorenzetti, Donatello, Michelangelo, Bernini, Pinturicchio arrived one after another.

In 1339, the Sienese decided to enlarge the cathedral, making the existing one the transept of a building of vast proportions. But the Black Death of 1348 and the progressive loss of the city’s economic power sapped the energy of the inhabitants. Today we only have the right nave and a squat facade known as the “Facciatone”.

Inside, however, the Sienese began a masterpiece on which they were to continue working for centuries. Starting in the second half of the 1300s, they decided to cover the floor with 56 squares of inlaid marble for a total of 1,300 square meters.

A magnificent book is now dedicated to this floor. It is the fruit of more than 30 years of study by Marilena Caciorgna, professor of iconography and classical tradition at the University of Siena, and it explains the complex stories told by the floor, whose preparatory drawings were made by great artists, almost all Sienese. : Sassetta, Domenico di Bartolo, Matteo di Giovanni, Domenico Beccafumi, with an intervention by Pinturicchio, the Umbrian author of the panel with the Mount of Wisdom, a symbolic representation of the path to Virtue.

A Marmo book. The pavimento del Duomo di SienaMarilena Caciorgna, 312 pp, color illustrations, (Sillabe, Livorno 2023), €39

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