“During demolition of the unfinished medieval Cathedral façade in 1587, most of the surface decoration was lost; the few surviving fragments are shown in this room. Among these are pieces found while excavation beneath the nave of the Santa Maria del Fiore to uncover the remains of the old cathedral, Santa Reparata. In the course of those excavations in 1965-1973, the pavement of the new Cathedral had to be removed, and on the underside of some white marble slabs 14th-century decoration came to light, confirming that the Opera del Duomo had recycled its costly stone to suit the needs of an evolving project.
The carves slabs and those with colored and gold mosaic inserts made the Duomo façade an image of the heavenly Jerusalem described in the New Testament, whose walls are made of precious stones (Revelation 21, 18-21). Especially at sunset, when the Cathedral front glows in the waning light, the allusion to that future city must have been clear.”
|What might look like popcorn under the mosaic is actually marble.|
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