Chromatic surprises in Florence Cathedral

The restoration (2021-2022) of the Madonna and Child with Adoring Angels, a marble sculpture attributed to Zanobi di Bartolo and Simone Talenti dated between 1359 and 1360, which stands on the Cornacchini door in the north side of Santa Maria del Fiore, revealed unexpected coloring. Under deposits of dirt of various kinds and textural decay, the damask decoration of the Child's robe, the color of an eye and shades between blue and green inside the Virgin's mantle, red on the outside and ivory in the robe of an angel emerged. In the 14th century, it was not uncommon to use colors on marble works that embellished sculptures and reflected luminous gleams on white, green and pink marble, mosaics and the red terracotta pavement of the square. The restoration has, thus, unearthed traces of a "colored city" whose real memory had been lost. 9. Detail of the Child, Porta dei Cornacchini, Florence Cathedral. Courtesy: Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, photo Antonio Quattrone 10. Detail of the Child's robe, Porta dei Cornacchini, Florence Cathedral. Courtesy: Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, photo Antonio Quattrone

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