In a masterstroke of archaeological detective work, the curators and artisans of the newly-expanded Florence museum, Il Grande Museo Del Duomo, have reconstructed the original façade and put many of its beautiful sculptures on display. By painstakingly studying a single 16th century drawing by Bernardo Pocetti, artists and researchers rendered a scale model of the lost façade from resin and marble dust. In the same room they have restored Lorenzo Ghiberti’s “Gates of Heaven” Baptistery doors to their original position vis a vis the facade in order to fully recreate the original vision and iconographic relationship between the Cathedral and Baptistery.
Greatests things to see:
- Lorenzo Ghiberti’s two masterpieces: The more accomplished of the two bronze doors depicting biblical scenes is the one facing the reconstructed Duomo Façade.
- Donatello’s Penitent Magdalen (Maddalena Penitente): Michelangelo himself called it the “Gates of Paradise” and it’s this door’s copy that draws the crowds in the Piazza. Perhaps the more historically significant door is the North Door.
- Michelangelo’s Other Pieta: Visitors to St. Peter’s know you can’t miss Michelangelo’s depiction of loss and motherly sorrow in the Pietá, but not all of the artist’s works were resounding successes. As an old man Michelangelo returned to the scene of the Jesus’ crucifixion to begin work on another Pietá intended for his own grave.