Bernardo Buontalenti, Model for the facade of the Cathedral

Buontalenti, Bernardo
Galleria dei modelli
Wood, pigments
Shaping, carving, moulding, varnishing
Height: 238 cm; Width: 241,5 cm; Depth: 36,5 cm;

This 1587 model by Bernardo Buontalenti, in carved and painted wood, is another of the projects for a new façade for the cathedral following the demolition of its medieval predecessor. Buontalenti was Grand Duke Francesco’s favorite architect and, among the models presented in 1587, his design stands apart as the only one with three orders. It is also highly decorated, with a plethora of columns, pilasters, niches and tracery. The effect is dramatic, but gives the impression of being more an elegant exercise in style rather than a serious attempt to design a façade which would fit in with the existing architecture of the rest of the Cathedral. It echoes the medieval tradition of using contrasting bands of white and green marble, with the painted parts of the model representing the green and the unpainted wood the white marble. 

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