Nanni di Banco, Saint Luke

Nanni di Banco
Sala del Paradiso
Original location
Cathedral, medieval facade
White marble
Height: 207 cm; Width: 87 cm; Depth: 51,5 cm;
White marble

White marble statue (apparently in the round but actually carved only on the the visible parts) depicting Saint Luke the Evangelist in larger than life size. Central work of the early Renaissance, this sculpture, the work of Nanni di Banco from 1409-1413, was placed in the first niche to the left of the central portal of the Cathedral, where it was part of the series of four evangelists, created in the first quarter of the fifteenth century for this portion of the medieval facade. Saint Luke, author of the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, is depicted with refined naturalism as a mature man with a beard and short hair, dressed in the old style. Sitting on a seat he holds one hand on his right leg while with his left he turns an open tome towards himself to which he directs his gaze. The sculptor gave the evangelist the noble and elegant appearance of an ancient philosopher, referring to his having been, according to tradition, a cultured doctor. He imagined him in the act of rereading his Gospel with quiet pride and monumental calm, perhaps to allude to the first chapter, where he says he wrote it after having carried out "accurate research".

When Arnolfo's façade was dismantled in 1587, Saint Luke and the other evangelists were transferred to the Cathedral and only arrived at the Museum in 1904.

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Sala del Paradiso