Siena Cathedral - Table of Contents
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Exterior - Siena Cathedral/Duomo di Siena

On this page, below:
Facade

Marble floor mosaics

Facade Animals and Grotesques

Campanile/Bell tower

Excerpts from "Sacred Destinations: Siena Duomo"
2020 photos

Facade


Italian Gothic style (much less emphasis on stained glass compared to continental Gothic)      ...   
"Extending south [right] from the cathedral is the "Facciatone," a great facade built as part of a major expansion to Siena Duomo in the 14th century." - Sacred Destinations: Siena Duomo (online April 2020)    ...   The exterior and interior are constructed of white and greenish-black marble in alternating stripes, with the addition of red marble on the façade.




Michael, the archangel warrior   ...   "All the statues on the facade, many of them designed by Giovanni Pisano, were replaced with replicas in the 1960s"
- Sacred Destinations: Siena Duomo (online March 2020)



Crockets   ...   Grotesques(?)



"Coronation of Mary"  mosaic



Foliated 
crockets on pediment   ...   Egg-and-dart and dentil moldings on pediment   ...  
"Birth of Jesus" mosaic




"The large round window is surrounded by busts of 36 patriarchs and a statue of the Madonna and Child." - Sacred Destinations: Siena Duomo (online April 2020)






The Four Evangelists






Compound arch    ...    The exterior and interior are constructed of white and greenish-black marble in alternating stripes, with the addition of red
marble on the façade.









Acanthus leaves decorate the column shaft



Marble floor mosaics


 
Marble mosaics   ...   Four details below:


Marble mosaics - Detail #1



Marble mosaics - Detail #2



Marble mosaics - Detail #3



Marble mosaics - Detail #4




Facade Animals and Grotesques


Note Corinthian capitals in lower right



Lion






Winged lion is symbol of Mark the Evangelist



Gargoyles



Gargoyle(?)



Grotesques




Campanile/Bell tower


"
The Duomo's unique black-and-white striped campanile dates from 1313, but reflects the Romanesque style. The tall, square bell tower has increasing numbers of round-headed arcades with each level and culminates in a pyramid-shaped roof."
- Sacred Destinations: Siena Duomo (online March 2020)


Cross  finial   ...   Lantern features trefoil arches   ...   Renaissance rounded arches on campanile



5-column arcade   ...   4-column 
arcade  ...   3-column  arcade


Black-and-white voussoirs




Excerpts from Sacred Destinations: Siena Duomo
(online March 2020)

Siena's Duomo was built between 1215 and 1263 and designed in part by Gothic master Nicola Pisano. His son, Giovanni, drew up the plans for the lower half of the facade, begun in 1285. The facade's upper half was added in the 14th century.

The 14th century was a time of great wealth and power for Siena, and plans were made to expand the cathedral into a great church that would dwarf even St. Peter's in Rome. The already-large Duomo would form just the transept of this huge cathedral.

Expansion got underway in 1339 with construction on a new nave off the Duomo's right transept. But in 1348, the Black Death swept through the city and killed 4/5 of Siena's population. The giant cathedral was never completed, and the half-finished walls of the Duomo Nuovo (New Cathedral) survive as a monument to Siena's ambition and one-time wealth.

In the 19th century, the cathedral was extensively restored, including the addition of golden mosaics on the facade.

Large in scale and ornately decorated inside and out, Siena's cathedral is one of the finest examples of 
Italian Gothic architecture.

The Duomo's unique black-and-white striped campanile dates from 1313, but reflects the Romanesque style. The tall, square bell tower has increasing numbers of round-headed arcades with each level and culminates in a pyramid-shaped roof.

The south transept has an entrance known as the Porto del Perdono (Door of Forgiveness), which is topped with a medallion bust of the Virgin and Child by Donatello (original in the Museo dell'Opera). On the north side of the cathedral, a stone set into the wall is inscribed with the mysterious Sator Square.

The west facade [main entrances] was begun in 1285 with Giovanni Pisano as the master architect. He completed the lower level by 1297, at which time he abruptly left Siena over creative differences with the Opera del Duomo. Camaino di Crescentino took over from 1299 until 1317, when the Opera ordered all work to focus on the east end of the cathedral. Attention finally returned to the facade in 1376, with a new design inspired by the newly built facade of Orvieto Cathedral.

Parts of the facade were restored and reorganized in 1866-69 by Giuseppe Partini and again after World War II. All the statues on the facade, many of them designed by Giovanni Pisano, were replaced with replicas in the 1960s; the originals are displayed in the Museo dell'Opera. Pisano's statues depict Greek philosophers, Jewish prophets and pagan Sibyls, each accompanied by an inscription, as well as animals including lions and griffins.

Giovanni Pisano is also believed to have contributed the frieze over the central portal, which depicts the stories of the Virgin Mary and her parents Anne and Joachim. The columns between the portals are richly carved with foliage, putti and animals. The central bronze door, depicting the Glorification of the Virgin, was made in 1958 by Enrico Manfrini.

The golden mosaics in the upper gables were made by Venetian artists based on drawings of 1878 by the Sienese painters Luigi Mussini and Alessandro Franchi. They depict the Presentation of Mary at the Temple, the Coronation of the Virgin, and the Nativity. The large round window is surrounded by busts of 36 patriarchs and a statue of the Madonna and Child.

Extending south from the cathedral is the "Facciatone," a great facade built as part of a major expansion to Siena Duomo in the 14th century. The existing cathedral was to become merely the transept of a huge structure that would surpass even St. Peter's Basilica. But due to the arrival of the Black Death and political conflict, it was never completed. The unfinished right aisle has been partially filled in to house the Museo dell'Opera, from which one can climb to the facade for fine views.




 


Photos and their arrangement © 2020 Chuck LaChiusa
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