Tuscan craftsmen, Marble floor of the Cathedral
- Simone del Pollaiolo, called "il Cronaca" - Baccio d'Agnolo (Bartolomeo d'Agnolo Baglioni) - Francesco da Sangallo (Francesco Giamberti) - Baglioni Giuliano, known as "Giuliano di Baccio d'Agnolo" - Baccio Bandinelli (Bartolomeo Brandini)
- Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
- Specific location
- Interior, floor
- Colonnata black marble, Prato green marble, Monterantoli red marble, Ammonitic red marble, Apuan white marble, brecciated marbles, Misio marble, Ancient green of Thessaly marble, African marble, Impruneta granite
The majestic floor of the Cathedral, in geometric motifs of white, black and red marbles, was made to designs by various Florentine masters between 1500 and 1660. The total surface is near 8,200 square metres. Until the end of the 15th century, the cathedral floor was in terracotta. In May 1500, the master builder of the Opera, Simone del Pollaiolo, known as “Il Cronaca”, received directions to carry out maintenance of the ancient, worn flooring: this was the origin of the proposal to rework all of the floors in marble. In 1504 the Consuls of the Wool Guild and the masters of the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore agreed on renovating the floor, beginning from the area around the choir octagon. In the four years left to him, Cronaca (d. 1508) oversaw the large part of this first task, as well as completing the floors of some radial chapels, among which the Chapel of San Tommaso. After resuming in 1520, the works continued without interruption under Baccio d'Agnolo, completing floor after floor: in 1524, around the choir; in 1525 in the Tribune of San Zanobi; in 1526 the Tribune of the Cross and in 1528 that of Sant'Antonio. For these chapels, Baccio drew inspiration from the geometries of Turcoman carpets. In the grand ducal era, the design and construction of the main cathedral pavements were entirely entrusted to Baccio d'Agnolo, flanked by Francesco da Sangallo, Baccio Bandinelli and by Bandinelli’s son, Giuliano. The job of the new flooring was gigantic in costs, materials, manpower and time: the works were finally completed exactly 160 years after beginning, in 1660. The appearance is that of an enormous unity of geometric carpets, aligned within the naves and intersecting accessory spaces. A succession of highly elaborate, kaleidoscopic wheels, of circular and hexagonal outline, generate illusionary games of perspective, scattered here and there with insertions of floor-tombs and memorials, themselves enriched with coats of arms. For their colours and textures, the masters of these works chose specific marbles: Colonnata black; Prato green; Monterantoli red; Apuan white; the brecciato marbles, with their effects of colour chips; Thessaly green; African marbles, in shades of pink, yellow, grey-blue; also Impruneta granite and the so-called Misio marble, technically a granite. The techniques used derive from those of Romanesque marble “carpets”, but the designs draw more explicitly on drawings by Baccio d'Agnolo and Sangallo. The aim was to equal and surpass the refined tastes and splendour of Roman imperial floors, above all those of the Pantheon. The triple colours of white, green and pink also evoke the glories of republican Florence, specifically in the constructions of Giotto's bell tower and the facing of the Cathedral. Although there are references to Florentine Romanesque, this tradition is projected into the "modern" in terms of dimension and meanings: just as the floor extends over all parts of this religious centre, Florentine dominance extends over all Tuscany and the city has emerged as the capital of a modern state: a dominion ruled by a duke.