Opera Museum  - Table of Contents

  Baptistery collection - Opera del Duomo Museum
Florence, Italy
On this page, below:
South doors

North doors

East doors - "Gates of Paradise"

Donatello, "Penitent Magdalene"

Baroque Altar
February 2020 photos
South doors

The doors on display in this museum are the originals.  The doors in the Baptistery are reproductions.


South doors
Andrea Pisano, 1336
The earliest of the three doors is the one on the south side, modeled in 1330 and then cast by Andrea Pisano. It was set up in 1336 on the east side, and moved in 1452 to make way for Lorenzo Ghiberti’s ‘Gates of Paradise’.   ...
The decoration of Pisano's door consists of 28 quatrefoil panels of Scenes from the life of St John the Baptist, with the Theological and Cardinal Virtues beneath.



South door
 
Zachariah is struck mute



South door
 
Zachariah writes the boy's name



South door
St John as boy in the desert



South door
Temperance



South door
 St John reprimands Herod Antipas



South door
The disciples visit St. John



South door
Dance of Salome



South door
Salome takes John's head to Herodias



South door
Transport of the body of St. John



South door
Burial



South door
Charity




North doors
Ghiberti, 1424


"Lorenzo [Ghiberti] himself made the north door between 1403 and 1424, after he had won the famous competition of 1401, in which his submission was preferred to those of Brunelleschi, Jacopo della Quercia and other artists.    ...   The north door consists of twenty quatrefoils panels with scenes from the Life of Christ, [plus eight panels from] the Four Evangelists and the Doctors of the Church. This scheme seems to have cramped Ghiberti’s talent for naturalistic representation, which however was given free rein in his great masterpiece, the third Baptistery door." - The Museums of Florence: Baptistery of San Giovanni (online April 2020)  



North doors
Ascent to Calvary


North doors
Crucifixion



North doors
Agony in the Garden.



North doors
Christ captured



North doors
Transfiguration



North doors
 
Resurrection of Lazarus.



North doors
Baptism of Christ



North doors
Temptation of Christ



North doors
Annunciation



North doors
Nativity



North doors
 
St. John Evangelist



North doors
St. Matthew



North doors
St. Ambrose



North doors
St. Jerome




East doors - "Gates of Paradise"
Ghiberti, 1452


East doors
"At the beginning of the 15th century, the Arte of Calimala (the Wool Merchants' Guild) announced a public competition to design the Baptistery's northern doors.  Ghiberti won the hearts of the judges (though he was already the favorite, since he had already created the doors that were facing the Duomo) and was awarded the commission to create the northern doors.

"These last doors were so magnificent, it was quickly decided they were even better than the previous doors Ghiberti had designed and were to take place of honor, facing the Duomo. "The Gates of Paradise received their name by Michelangelo who is believed to have exclaimed: "they are so beautiful that they would be perfect for the gates of paradise".

The doors consist of 10 rectangular panels, displayed in two lines. They depict scenes of the Old Testament from left to right and from top to bottom. In each panel, Ghiberti described more than one scene so that there are over fifty scenes depicted.

All around the frame of the doors Ghiberti added 24 small bronze busts of famous Florentines, including his own self-portrait.

The original panels of the Gates of Paradise are now displayed at the Opera del Duomo Museum, the ones in situ are copies." - Visit Florence (online April 2020)



 East doors
Isaac with Esau and Jacob


East doors
Adam and Eve   ...   Top: God the Father   ...   Lower left: Creation of Adam   ...   Lower right:  Creation of Eve, taken from the rib of Adam



East doors
David



East doors
Cain & Abel



East doors
Abraham



East doors
Joseph



East doors
Joshua






Donatello, "Penitent Magdalene"
1453–1455
White poplar
6' tall

The Penitent Magdalene is a wooden sculpture of Mary Magdalene by the Italian Renaissance sculptor Donatello, created around 1453–1455. The sculpture was probably commissioned for the Baptistery of Florence. The piece was received with astonishment for its unprecedented realism.

"Documentation about the work is scarce. The earliest mentioning of the Penitent Magdalene dates from 1500 and mentions that the statue is being placed back in the Baptistery in Florence against the southwest wall. Since then, the statue has been moved a few times: in 1688 it was replaced by the baptismal font and put in storage, in 1735 it was moved back to the Baptistery against the southeast wall, and in 1912 it was put back against the southwest wall. Today, being moved after restoration, it can be seen in the Sala della Maddalena in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Florence.   

"Though the 'Penitent Magdalene' was the usual depiction for the many single figures of Mary Magdalene in art, Donatello's gaunt, emaciated figure differs greatly from most depictions, which show a beautiful young woman in nearly perfect health. The Magdalene Penitent is famous for the detailed and very realistic carvings on the statue.

"Medieval hagiography in the Western church had conflated the figure of Mary Magdalene, already conflated with Mary of Bethany and the unnamed sinner in the Anointing of Jesus, with that of Saint Mary of Egypt. She was a popular figure in the Eastern Churches, who had been a prostitute before spending thirty years repenting in the desert. Donatello's depiction is similar to, and very probably influenced by, Eastern Orthodox icons of Mary of Egypt, which show a similar emaciated figure. He thus ignored the Western legends by which Mary was daily fed by angels in the desert.


Donatello executed the work when he was more than sixty years old, after he had spent a decade in Padua.   The work was damaged by the 1966 flood of the Arno River, and the restoration process revealed some of the statue's original polychrome and gilding." Wikipedia  (online April 2020)


























Girolamo Ticciati   ...   1732 Baroque altarpiece:  An altarpiece is an artwork such as a painting, sculpture or relief representing a religious subject made for placing behind the altar of a Christian church.   ...   St. John the Baptist  raised to heaven   ...    Details below:


1732 Baroque altarpiece   ...   St. John the Baptist



1732 Baroque altarpiece



1732 Baroque altarpiece   ...   One of 2 candle-bearing angels



1732 Baroque altarpiece   ...   Herod's Feast



1732 Baroque altarpiece   ...   Eagle flanking "Herod"s Feast"     ...    Eagle symbolizes Saint John the Evangelist and his gospel.







Photos and their arrangement 2020 Chuck LaChiusa
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