The placement on the facade of three marble copies that will replace the heavily degraded originals
The original sculptures were removed from the facade in October 2017 due to severe deterioration. At the end of their restoration, the three statues will be placed in the new wing of the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Florence, which is expected to open in the next few years.
The spectacular placement on the facade of the Florence Cathedral of three marble copies of the nineteenth-century statues of Pope Leo the Great, Pope Celestine I and Pope Gregory VII by Raffaello Romanelli, Fortunato Galli and Dante Sodini is still in progress. The end of the works is scheduled for next week, when the specially built scaffolding will also be dismantled.
Today's works are part of a larger project by the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore which involves the maintenance and restoration of the nineteenth-century facade of the Florence Cathedral and the replacement of degraded sculptures with artfully made copies.
The original sculptures were removed from the facade in October 2017 due to severe deterioration. At the end of their restoration, the three statues will be placed in the new wing of the Opera del Duomo Museum in Florence, which is expected to open in the next few years.
The copies were sculpted by the restorers of the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore in the restoration workshop, in via dello Studio in Florence, which boasts a history of over 700 years.
“We started by choosing three blocks of marble from the Carrara quarries - explains Marcello del Colle, coordinator of the restoration workshop - Once the marble has arrived at our premises, the roughing is carried out and then the statues are sculpted in detail, in the same way as the sculptures of antiquity".
THE OPERA DEL DUOMO RESTORATION WORKSHOP
The restoration workshop is part of the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, the institution founded by the Florentine Republic in 1296 to supervise the construction of the new cathedral and its bell tower. Like the Opera, the Bottega is 727 years old. In ancient times the workshop was responsible for creating the sculptural and architectural decoration of the Cathedral and Giotto's bell tower, while today it is mainly dedicated to the maintenance and conservation of the priceless heritage of the monumental complex of the Florence Cathedral.
THE CATHEDRAL FACADE
The facade of the Florence Cathedral, which remained unfinished after the death of Arnolfo di Cambio in the early 1300s, was built between 1875 and 1887. The author of the overall design was Emilio Fabris who sought an effect of continuity with the sides of the Cathedral and the Bell Tower, through the use of both the typical polychromy and Gothic-style forms. In the iconographic articulation of the façade De Fabris was assisted, from 1878, by the philosopher Augusto Conti who elaborated a historicist and celebratory program in the spirit of the years that had seen Florence as temporary capital of the new Kingdom of Italy (1865-1871). The rich decoration of the facade that many artists worked on was completed in 1887, and was unveiled to the public on May 12 of the same year, 130 years ago.
Ph. Claudio Giovannini