CATHEDRAL, Baptistery - Interior

Audio File length: 2.42
English / USA Language: English / USA

It's time for you to walk through Lorenzo Ghiberti's elegant doors on the north side and enter the Baptistery.

You are in a perfectly harmonious, vast octagonal space with the baptismal font in the center. The overall structure reflects a classic pattern: if you've happened to visit it, the columns leaning against the walls and the marble finish might remind you of the Pantheon in Rome. Here inside you'll again find the white marble slabs from Luni and dark green slabs from Prato that create the elegant geometric patterns that fascinated you on the exterior. In the few areas that aren't covered with marble, you can see how this magnificent building is in fact built with simple and inexpensive bricks!

Notice how beautifully the light enters from the loggia at the top and spreads over the dome's golden mosaics, but don't ignore the beautiful inlaid marble floor from the 1200s either, although for conservation reasons its functional parts are protected. On the panel near the door facing the Cathedral, you can see various astrological representations including the twelve zodiac signs.

I'd like to point out the important funeral monument of Baldassarre Cossa in the walls between the columns to the right of the altar: he was famous because in a very confused period of history at the beginning of the 1400s, he was elected "antipope" with the name of John XXIII. The architectural part of the monument is by Michelozzo, and the sculptures are by Donatello: you should know that around 1420 the two artists had created an "associated studio".

Behind the altar and covering the large octagonal dome, you can get lost contemplating the great cycle of gold-background mosaics that were begun in the 13th century, finished on the threshold of the 14th century, and involved several Florentine artists including Cimabue, Giotto's master.

You can recognize episodes from the Old Testament, the Gospel, and the life of St. John the Baptist, while the highest point shows the hosts of angels. The whole is dominated by a huge Christ the Judge who divides the blessed from the damned, the former on their way to heaven and the latter condemned to a bizarre and dramatic hell dominated by a satisfied, monstrous Satan.


FUN FACT: in the baptistery you can see a bas-relief depicting scenes of a grape harvest, which was destined for a pagan sarcophagus. Even today the experts still argue about why this pagan sarcophagus is located in a Christian building.

Scarica MyWoWo! La Travel App che ti racconta le meraviglie del mondo!

Share on