Arnolfo di Cambio, Dormitio Virginis (Death of the Virgin Mary)

Arnolfo di Cambio e bottega
Sala del Paradiso
Original location
Cathedral, medieval facade
Marble, plaster
Sculpture, cast

The reliefs illustrate the death of Our Lady, with the Apostles grieving while Christ receives Mary’s soul, depicted as a newborn baby, in heaven. Arnolfo di Cambio sculpted them from 1300 to 1310. The reliefs from the right-hand portal of the original facade narrate the Assumption of our Lady. According the tradition Angels transported the twelve Apostles to Maria’s  side to keep a vigil over her body. In heaven Christ received his earthly mother’s soul, unblemished by sin. The sculptures were removed in 1587 and dispersed: Our Lady and the two heads of the Apostles are in the Bode Museum in Berlin, here replaced by casts, while Christ and the animula, or soul, of Our Lady are the originals in marble. 

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Sala del Paradiso