Palazzo Tornabuoni unveils new exhibition on the Baptistery doors

Palazzo Tornabuoni unveils new exhibition on the Baptistery doors

The private residence club in central Florence teams up with Galleria Frilli to host the insightful show.

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Thu 20 Jun 2024 2:06 PM

Florence’s private residence club Palazzo Tornabuoni recently unveiled an exciting new exhibition, which gives the 109 members from all over the world a renewed understanding of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s world-famous Gates of Paradise (1425-52).

The bronze doors, which were installed initially on the Baptistery of San Giovanni adjacent to the Duomo, have been replicated and displayed, permitting an up-close analysis of each scene and their remarkable details. In an unparalleled experience of Ghiberti’s masterpiece, viewers are invited to touch the panels and explore their intricacies, in a way that would not be possible with the originals (in the Opera del Duomo Museum) or the replicas that now adorn the baptistery.

The project, ideated and sponsored by Palazzo Tornabuoni members Ed and Ninette Braude, was conceived in collaboration with Galleria Frilli, which is pleased to give members of Palazzo Tornabuoni and small visiting groups privileged access to the display. The panels have been faithfully recreated from Ghiberti’s design, manifesting an important part of Florence’s artistic heritage, and their display as singular panels allows a closer analysis and greater appreciation.

Ed and Ninette Braude (third and fourth from the left); Gabrielle Taylor, club president; and representatives from Galleria Frilli

For Clara Marinelli, from Galleria Frilli, this new interpretation presents “a unique opportunity, because you can see this highly accurate replica from a close distance and can appreciate its details, as well as the history behind the creation of each individual panel.” Further distinguishing this display is the inclusion of the frame, which Marinelli comments is “usually only considered secondary to the panels. It can now finally assume its own importance.”

Guiding this project, Ed Braude details his inspiration to form the exhibition, after witnessing some of the work being done on the panels. “I realized that I knew very little about them, then I spoke to others and realized they knew less than I did. I thought we should enlighten people. The fact that my knowledge was so limited means I have learned so much along the way.” Part of what makes the doors so impressive is their longevity, and as Braude, from Australia, jokes, “I come from a country that is 250 years old, and we’re talking about a monument that is 500 years old.”

Palazzo Tornabuoni provides the ideal setting for this type of exhibition, as it appeals to those whose interest in Florence’s treasures has attracted them from all over the world. As Clara explains, “Palazzo Tornabuoni is a stimulating place where you meet many nationalities and different personalities, joined in their love and interest in Florence, its artistic heritage and its history.

Ed Braude is someone who has contributed in a particularly important way to the creation of this exhibition, made possible by his deep desire to bring this work to the attention of the Palazzo’s members and of the wider public that we hope to reach.”

The works are planned to be on show until September 7.

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