CATHEDRAL, Museum - Second Part

Audio File length: 2.41
English / USA Language: English / USA

Among the masterpieces of Renaissance sculpture that line up one after another in this Museum, I'd like to point out some memorable works that you really can't miss.

Firstly, meditate on the expressive and dramatic Magdalene carved in wood, which is one of the last works by Donatello. As you can see, the saint isn't depicted at her most beautiful, but is instead gaunt and excavated by her penances, wrapped in long hair with a collective expression of suffering and devotion.

In the next room you can admire the marble Pietà Michelangelo sculpted in 1550 for his own tomb. The figure of Nicodemus with his face covered by a hood is a self portrait of the sculptor, who was seventy by then, while the Magdalene on the left is a student's clumsy attempt to complete the sculpture, which the master had left unfinished because he was dissatisfied with certain details.

A staircase leads you to a spacious gallery where you'll get a breathtaking view of the reconstruction of the Cathedral's façade. The sixteen majestic marble prophets that come from the niches of the Bell Tower are along the balustrade, lined up like an honor guard. The statues sculpted by Donatello are particularly expressive, especially the popular Habakkuk, called "Jughead" for his roundish bald head.

Then contemplate the beautiful marble tile bas-reliefs of the 1300s and 1400s which also come from the sides of the Bell Tower; their design dates back to Giotto.

Another splendor is the Baptistery's golden silver altar. It was begun in the 1300s and finished a century later thanks to the intervention of masters such as Pollaiolo and Verrocchio.

The tour's grand finale awaits you on the panoramic terrace: this is the last surprise, a privileged point of view for admiring Brunelleschi's dome!


FUN FACT: proverbially, Florentines are very competitive. And in fact often in its history, two or more Florentine artists compete for excellence: in the Museum, Luca della Robbia and Donatello both worked on the two choir lofts of the Cathedral, which are the marble balconies used by the choir to chant in solemn Masses. Though equal in size and material, look how different their decorations are!

And with this we have finished our tour of the monumental complex of the Cathedral in Florence. MyWoWo thanks you for staying with us, and will see you at the next Wonder of the World!

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