Arnolfo di Cambio, Glass-eyed Madonna with St. Reparata and St. Zanobi

Arnolfo di Cambio and workshop
Sala del Paradiso
Original location
Cathedral, facade medieval
White marble, glass paste
Sculpture, moulding

Marble sculpture of the Madonna and Child enthroned between Saint Reparata and Saint Zenobius, with angels holding back the marble curtain. Arnolfo di Cambio and artists from his workshop sculpted the group of statues between 1300 and 1310. For the original facade of the Cathedral Arnolfo di Cambio designed a wealth of carved figures celebrating Mary, mother of Christ, to whom the church is dedicated. On the central portal the enthroned Madonna and Child are flanked by the two patron saints of the diocese: Saint Reparata, to whom the ancient church was dedicated after the victory of Florence over the Ostrogoths in the fifth century. A.D., and the former bishop of Florence, Saint Zenobius. The lunette was framed by a marble curtain drawn back by angels. Arnolfo’s unfinished facade was later demolished in 1587, and the Madonna was moved into the Cathedral, where it was worshipped as miraculous. To make the sculpture more lifelike Arnolfo di Cambio used glass for the eyes, hence the statue is known as the Madonna with Glass Eyes. 

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Sala del Paradiso