Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Front Façade of Santa Maria del Fiore, Duomo of Florence

Model of original façade

Detail of model of original façade

Giacomo Brogi (1822-1881) - "Florence. Giotto bell-tower". Ca. Before 1865

Photograph of façade in nineteenth century before 1865

Façade of Santa Maria del Fiore as now

Arnolfo di Cambio designed the original façade of the Duomo. The design drawings of the façade are in the Museum of the Opera del Duomo. This original façade was only completed in its lower portion in the fifteenth century and then left unfinished.

In 2005, a model of this façade was placed in the Museum. Some statues from this façade are in the Museum.

Grand Duke Cosimo I ordered that the façade be dismantled in 1587-1588. A competition was held for a new façade but the competition came to nothing amid allegations of corruption.

The façade was then left bare until the 19th century.

Visitors on a Grand Tour of Europe visiting Florence would have been faced with the bare façade.

In 1864 a competition was held to design a new façade. It was won by Emilio De Fabris (1808-1883) in 1871. Work was begun in 1876 and completed in 1887. This neo-gothic façade in white, green and red marble forms a harmonious entity with the cathedral, Giotto's belltower and the Baptistery.

The whole façade is dedicated to the Mother of Christ.