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The Baptistery of the Menabuoi and its pictorial cycle

10 Aug

The Baptistery of the Menabuoi and its pictorial cycle

 The Baptistery of the Menabuoi and its pictorial cycle.

The Baptistery contains one of the most spectacular pictorial cycles well preserved of the ‘300. Currently, together with the Scrovegni Chapel, the frescoes of the Palazzo della Ragione and the Basilica del Santo, are candidates for UNESCO recognition as an artistic and cultural heritage.

The Baptistery of the Duomo (Church dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta – built in its current form by Andrea da Valle on a project by Michelangelo of 1551, replacing the Cathedral damaged by the terrible earthquake of 1117) is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, was built in Romanesque style in the twelfth century.

It has a square plan surmounted by a large circular drum covered by a large dome. The interior was frescoed between 1375 and 1378 by the Florentine painter Giusto de ‘Menabuoi, commissioned by Fina Buzzaccarini, wife of Francesco I da Carrara.

In the great dome of the Baptistery is represented Paradise, in whose center stands Christ Pantocrator holding the book of the Holy Scriptures. All around are the great figure of the Madonna and, arranged in concentric circles, the ranks of angels and saints.

Here the Florentine artist created his masterpiece, which remains today one of the most spectacular and best preserved pictorial cycles of the fourteenth century.

Along the drum are depicted 33 episodes taken from the book of Genesis while on the walls are illustrated the Stories of St. John the Baptist, of Mary and of Christ, taken from the Gospels.

On the pendentives there are the Evangelists flanked by the Prophets.

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