The restoration of the Florence duomo uncovered extensive traces of colour on the Virgin with Child and Adoring Angels sculptures. The restoration started in September 2021.
Extensive traces of colour were found on the Virgin with Child and Adoring Angels group of marble sculptures during restoration of the Porta dei Cornacchini and marble cladding of the northern side of the Florence duomo.
The restoration, which began in September 2021, confirmed the group of sculptures were originally multi-coloured. This is the first time such extensive traces of colours have been found on sculptures adorning the exteriors of the Florence duomo.
Restoration brings to light original colours
During the restoration, significant deposits and signs of degradation of several different natures were removed. These showed decoration on the clothing of the Child, the Virgin’s left eye, and the inside of her mantle. There were also traces of red on the outside.
The museum says this sculpture group was most likely not the only one on the duomo in polychrome. Now, they appear to be marble white.
Then the duomo was seen as colourful, with white, green, and pink on the exteriors; with red and gold mosaics on the facade.
“The exciting find of multiple colours of the figures on Porta dei Cornacchini of the Florence cathedral reminds us that Florence at the end of the 14th century and beginning of the 15th was a very colourful city,” said Duomo museum director Timothy Verdon
“The cathedral also had painted statues with gilding on the wings of angels and on clothing – thus, a celebration. A celebration that we forgot and are beginning to rediscover.”
In the eyes of the bishop of Florence, Giuseppe Betori, “it can seem strange that so much importance has been given to the door of a church. But, in reality, the door of a church is very important. It is the connection between what is celebrated inside the building and the normal life of people.”