Giobata, Aaron and Samuel

Giovanni Battista Tassara, known as "Giobata"
Museo dell'Ottocento
Original location
Cathedral, facade, top pinnacles of the tympanums of the right and left portals
White marble
Height: 180 cm ca.;
White marble

These statues in white marble, depicting the biblical characters Samuel and Aaron, were sculpted by Giovanni Battista Tassara in 1882-1886 for the new Cathedral facade. They were originally installed at the crowns of the side-portal cusps: Samuel on the right, Aaron on the left. Both prophets are represented as elders with long white beards. Samuel is wrapped in a heavy cloak, extending up and around his head. In his left hand he holds the horn containing the oil that he uses in consecrating David (Samuel 16: 13-15). Aaron is in an upright and proud pose, dressed in rich priestly robes of fine linen with precious stones, as described in the Book of Exodus (39: 1-32).

The iconographic program of the façade, developed by the architect Emilio De Fabris together with the philosopher Augusto Conti, focuses on the figure of Mary, the Cathedral patron. The program included these two prophets for the interpretation given them by Catholic theology in relation to the Virgin Mary and Christ. Jesus and his Mother were of both Davidic and priestly lineage: Samuel was the prophet who chose David as leader of the people of Israel; Aaron, brother of Moses, was the first high priest of the Jewish faith.

In 2017, the statue of Aaron was replaced by a hand-made copy from the stonemasons workshop of the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore.

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Museo dell'Ottocento