The new museum of sacred art in Florence
The new Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence boasts the largest collection of sculptures in the world from the Middle Ages and the Florentine Renaissance.
The museum provides a spectacular setting for the works of great Renaissance artists from Donatello to Michelangelo, up to Ghiberti to Luca della Robbia: 750 works including statues and reliefs in marble, bronze and silver, including masterpieces by major artists of the time.
The new Museo dell’Opera del Duomo covers almost 6,000 square meters of exhibition space, more than double compared to the past, and 25 rooms on three floors, some of which exceptionally large. This new and spectacular setting can now give pride of place to unique masterpieces such as the Pietà by Michelangelo; the Magdalene and Donatello’s Prophets; the Cantories by Luca della Robbia and Donatello; the legendary Porta del Paradiso and the North Gate by Lorenzo Ghiberti for the Baptistery of Florence. The new Museum also unveils many hidden works, such as the 15th and 14th century statues and nearly 70 fragments of the Cathedral’s medieval facade.
At the center of the new museum is the spectacular Sala del Paradiso, which contains a colossal life-size model in resin and marble dust of the ancient facade of the Florence Cathedral built by Arnolfo di Cambio from 1296, which was never completed and finally destroyed in 1587. In future, in front this titanic door – which was reconstructed on the basis of a 16th century drawing – 40 statues from the 14th and beginning of the 15thcentury will be placed. Originally they were intended for the facade, and made by artists Arnolfo di Cambio, Donatello and Nanni di Banco.
The Opera of Santa Maria del Fiore has existed since 1296. It has overseen the construction of the new Cathedral and the bell tower, and then the completion of the building proper, the embellishment of the monumental complex and the preservation of the historical, artistic and architectural heritage. The Opera of Santa Maria del Fiore has managed the Baptistery of San Giovanni from 1777 and the Museum since 1891.