Giambologna, Model of the facade of the Cathedral

Giambologna (Jehan Boulogne)
Galleria dei modelli
Wood, wax
Shaping, turning, moulding, shaping
Height: 147,5 cm; Width: 135 cm; Depth: 32 cm;

This wooden model is attributed to Giambologna, who constructed it at the very end of the 16th century as a proposal for the new facade of the Cathedral, following the demolition of the original medieval facade in 1587. This model was constructed during the reign of Ferdinand I de 'Medici, as attested by the inscription on the frieze. In the past it has also been attributed to Ludovico Cigoli, but it is now generally agreed to be by Giambologna, a sculptor and architect admired by the Grand Duke. The project draws inspiration from Giovanni Antonio Dosio’s model, with giant pilasters echoing the nave and aisles inside, conveying an overall effect of massive solidity. Note the balustrade above the frieze, separating the two orders of architecture. It was designed to link up with the Gothic balustrade running down the sides of the Cathedral, an attempt to harmonize the new facade with the pre-existing medieval architecture of the rest of the building. 

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