19th-century sculptures replaced with modern copies on the Duomo

19th-century sculptures replaced with modern copies on the Duomo

Pope Leo I, Pope Celestine I and Pope Gregory VII return to the frontage.

Fri 14 Jul 2023 2:34 PM

Three marble copies of 19th-century sculptures of Popes Leo I, Celestine I and Gregory VII are currently being erected on the facade of Florence Cathedral. Originally carved by Raffaello Romanelli, Fortunato Galli and Dante Sodini respectively, the works are expected to end next week.

The decision to restore the facade and replace the eroded statues is part of a wider-ranging project by the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, which governs the monuments comprising the Duomo. The original sculptures were removed from the façade in October 2017 and will be placed in the new wing of the Opera del Duomo Museum when it opens in the next few years.

The copies were sculpted by Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore restorers who work in the via dello Studio bottega, which vaunts 727 years of artistic activity.

“We started by choosing three blocks of Carrara marble,” explains Marcello del Colle, coordinator at the Bottega di Restauro di Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore. “As soon as the marble arrived in our workshop, we blocked out and carved the statues in detail, just like sculptors did in ancient times.”

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