Nicolò Barabino, Christ Enthroned with the Madonna and Saints

Barabino, Niccolò
Scalone nuovo
Canvas, oil pigments
Height: 380 cm; Width: 348 cm;
Canvas, oil pigments

Large oil on canvas lunette depicting Christ enthroned between Mary, St John the Baptist and Florentine saints, painted by Niccolò Barabino in 1883 as a preparatory cartoon for the mosaic which dominates the central portal of the cathedral. The current facade of the Cathedral was built between 1875 and 1887 to a design by Emilio De Fabris, while its iconographic scheme was designed by the philosopher Augusto Conti. The design exalts the Virgin Mary, and through her the Church, as guides to Christian civilization and an inspiration to the highest expressions of humanity. Homage is paid to Mary and the Church not only by the saints, but also by the great writers, scientists, artists and musicians of the Christian West, depicted in numerous statues of the facade. The mosaics above the three doors were created by the Società Musiva of Venice in 1888 following the Genoese artist Niccolò Barabino’s cartoons. Here we see Mary with Saint John the Baptist and a number of Florentine saints, the bishops Zenobius and Antonino, Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi and others, interceding with Christ enthroned, the incarnation of that "Divine Grace" which Mary bore in human guise, as the inscription "Mater divinae Gratiae" makes explicit.