Amos and Giuseppe Cassioli, Project for one of the doors of the facade of the Cathedral

Giuseppe Cassioli - Amos Cassioli
Museo dell'Ottocento
Paper, graphite, watercolor pigments
Drawing, watercolour
Height: 225 cm; Width: 125 cm;
Paper, graphite, watercolor pigments

This drawing in pencil and watercolour on paper presents a project for one of the bronze side doors of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. It is by Amos and Giuseppe Cassioli, who presented it to the second competition for the minor bronze doors of the Cathedral facade, held in 1887-1888.

The competition for the large central door was announced in 1886 and the victory was awarded to Augusto Passaglia. In 1887 the competition for the minor doors was launched and in the next year, Augusto Passaglia and the Cassioli, father and son, were entrusted with their execution. The drawing we see here is one of the tables from the Cassioli submission. The adjudicating commission, however, directed both teams of artists to work for the development of a common design. Amos Cassioli died in 1891 and his son Giuseppe completed the task with serious delay, due to financial difficulties and the numerous changes made to the project in progress. His door was installed in 1899.

In the first Cassioli project, each of the two leaves of the was to be divided into three panels: two smaller squares with inscribed quadrilobes at top and bottom of the door, and a larger rectangular panel at centre framed within polylobed arched-pointed tabernacles, with cusps and pinnacles (in the medial area). The iconographic program develops around the Virgin Mary, patron of the Cathedral: the upper panels depict the Adoration of the Shepherds and the Rest in Egypt; in the two central panels we see the Presentation of Christ in the temple and the Crucifixion. The portion of plan showing the lower panel is lost, while the panel on the right depicts the Dormitio Mariae. On the upper part of the tabernacles, the artist has applied a second proposal in the manner of a flap, lifted to reveal the first design.

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