New light in the Baptistery of Pisa: ancient and modern stained glass windows

The 19th-century stained-glass windows have been carefully restored by the Centro Conservazione e Restauro de La Venaria Reale of Turin to repair the damage caused by time and by the bombing of 1944. Four new stained glass windows were, instead, the object of an international competition, promoted by the Opera della Primaziale Pisana. They are dedicated to San Ranieri, patron saint of Pisa, to Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, who are particularly attached to the city of Pisa, and to Giuseppe Toniolo, proclaimed Blessed in 2012.

The comprehensive volume Arte vetraria nel Battistero di Pisa. Restauri e nuove opere (Glass Art in the Baptistery of Pisa. Restorations and New Works) – edited by Gabriella Garzella, Giuseppe Bentivoglio, Mauro Ciampa, Società Storica Pisana, Pisa 2020, Pacini editore – brings together artistic and archival studies that have revealed important information on the 19th century interventions, but also rediscovered sketches and identified the “workshops” involved in this ancient art. A section of the book is dedicated to the various problems of restoration, both technical and structural, and a third part illustrates the design and creation of the new stained-glass windows by the master from Grosseto, Francesco Mori, who has long been a passionate scholar and creator of stained-glass windows. The artist has captured the salient features of the characters with elements of immediate figurative and emotional impact, consistent with the principle of narration by luminous image, typical of stained glass windows.

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