Opera Museum  - Table of Contents

  Florence Cathedral collection - Opera del Duomo Museum
Florence, Italy
On this page, below:
Donatello's choir loft

Giovanni del Biondo, Saint Sebastian Triptych

Bandini's Bust of Filippo Brunelleschi

Four Reliquaries

Mitre and Crosier
February 2020 photos
Donatello's choir loft

 One of two choir lofts that once stood in the Duomo: one sculpted by Luca della Robbia (1431-38), the other by Donatello (1433-39). This is a valuable opportunity to compare two of the great artists of the Renaissance: della Robbia's infants are smooth, their movements lyrical; Donatello's convey a more immediate vigor.

Two details below:

Giovanni del Biondo, Saint Sebastian Triptych

"Following another wave of plague in 1374, a new altarpiece [in the Florence Cathedral] took its place: Giovanni del Biondo's Saint Sebastian Triptych, now at the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Florence. Though the plague outbreak was probably the catalyst for the substitution of the first altarpiece, it seems there was also an underlying need for an altarpiece that could teach the Florentine populace about the saint's particular virtues. Del Biondo's triptych remedies this ignorance, portraying in the wings four scenes from Jacobus de Voragine's Sebastian legend.  As a skilled preacher might have done, the altarpiece exploits the rhetorical devices of analogy and hyperbole to make a calculated and lasting impression upon the congregation.

"Sebastian had been both venerated and depicted for many centuries prior to his assuming the role of a protector against plague. His cult originated sometime before 354 at his tomb in the catacombs on the Via Appia in Rome.

"Among these events are the first attempt on his life by the emperor's archers, his recovery in the care of Irene, and his second arrest by he imperial guard, who bludgeoned him to death. The
passio [suffering] also recounts the saint's posthumous history: after the imperial guard dumped his corpse into a sewer to prevent its recovery by the Christians, Sebastian appeared to Lucina in a dream to tell her where his corpse lay; Lucia then found it and had it buried in the catacombs beside the remains of the apostles Peter and Paul."  - Sheila Barker, "The Making of a Plague Saint" (online April 2020)

Triptych     ...    Three details below:

Note the small angel at his ear presenting Sebastian with the crown of martyrdom

Upper left: punishment of a woman who profaned a temple dedicated to Sebastian    ...   Lower left:  Sebastian and Mary directing to heaven the prayers of the Pavians during the plague of 680 

Upper right:  Sebastian clubbed to death and thrown in the sewer    ...    Lower right:  shows Lucia's dream and her burial of Sebastian beside the apostles

Giovanni Bandini, Bust of Filippo Brunelleschi

Brunelleschi pronunciation: brew ne LESS key

Giovanni Bandini   ...    Filippo Brunelleschi, the architect of the Cathedral dome

Four reliquaries
Reliquary pronunciation:   RELA quary

  A relic is a part of a person, object, or natural material that is considered sacred or religiously significant. Relics may be things such as the bones of saints or holy soil.    ...  
A reliquary is a container that holds a relic.    ...    The Reliquary has three parts: metal, crystal, and relic.

The Reliquary Chapel holds 600 relics.

Finger detail

Finger detail

Jaw bone detail

Chain detail

Mitre and Crosier



Photos and their arrangement 2020 Chuck LaChiusa
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