Marble replica fills gap on cathedral exterior

130-year-old Samuel sculpture replaced

Erica Michelle Kiefer
September 15, 2017 - 14:20

Two cranes and a restoration team recently positioned a copy of the Old Testament’s Samuel on the façade of Florence Cathedral. The refurbished original can be found on display in the Opera del Duomo Museum.


Giovanni Battista Tassara crafted the statue during the creation of the new cathedral façade 130 years ago. The Samuel sculpture stands 175 centimetres tall, bears a curly beard and is cloaked in a hood. Tassara worked from 1871 to 1887 and was also commissioned for a statue of Moses’ brother Aaron; together his pair represent the Ark of the Covenant. While Samuel displays above the right door, Aaron shows beside the left door.


In a press release, Marcello del Colle, restoration coordinator for the Bottega, explained how the workers at the 721-year old Bottega di Restauro dell’Opera del Duomo start the restoration process by refurbishing originals, then they choose marble blocks in Carraia’s quarries and sculpt models in their workshop.


With Samuel finished, the Bottega staff are now focusing on other projects. Beginning last July, restorers started repairing three bronze doors that mark the Duomo’s main entrance, which are coated in oxidization and dust. The doors should be completed in December. In October, workers will repeat the process used on Samuel for Papa Leone Magno, Papa Gregorio VII and Papa Celestino by Raffaello Romanelli, Fortunato Galli and Dante Sodini.

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