Quantcast
Connect with us

Magnificent mosaic floor unmasked in Siena Cathedral

Published

on

Magnificent Renaissance mosaics covering the sweeping marble floor in Siena cathedral have been unveiled to give visitors a rare glimpse of scenes it took local artists 500 years to create.

The inlaid panels, usually covered to protect them from the thousands of visitors who flock to the Tuscan city each year, depict vivid stories from the Bible and classical antiquity, in black, white, green, red and blue marble.

ADVERTISEMENT

Made up of 56 panels designed by some 40 artists, the floor was described by 16th century historian Giorgio Vasari in his “Lives of Artists” as “the most beautiful, the greatest and most magnificent floor which was ever created.”

Among the oldest mosaics is the “She-Wolf of Siena” (executed in around 1373) which shows the wolf suckling infants Romulus and Remus: myth has it that while Romulus founded Rome, Siena was founded by Remus’ son, Senius.

Other panels portray the battle between David and Goliath, philosophers Socrates and Aristotle and ten Sibyls who became oracles around the world.

“The panels’ iconography is very unusual. Even though they are scenes depicted on the floor of a cathedral, many of them tell the stories of profane characters,” art historian Marilena Caciornia told AFP.

“The Sibyls, for example, are typical characters from classical antiquity linked to Apollo,” she said.
The Cumaean Sibyl in particular, depicted here by artist Giovanni di Stefano, was lusted over by the god Apollo: legend has it that when she refused him he cursed her by giving her eternal life, without eternal youth.

ADVERTISEMENT

Other highly-prized panels include “Moses on Mount Sinai,” designed by Sienese artist Domenico Beccafumi, who was renowned for his technique of using different gradations in the marble inlays to obtain chiaroscuro effects.

The mosaics have inspired visitors and the faithful down the centuries. When German composer Richard Wagner visited, he was reportedly “moved to tears” by the spectacle according to a letter written by his wife Cosima in 1880.

The floor is uncovered for a short period each year, following the Palio di Siena horse race, a medieval bare-back dash which attracts thousands of tourists. This year the floor will remain uncovered until October 24.

ADVERTISEMENT

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump supporter complains about being socially toxic: ‘People unfriend you’

Published

on

Fox News anchor Jeanine Pirro on Saturday complained about being judged by the content of her character.

"People unfriend you!' Pirro complained. "They don't want you to be a -- they don't want to communicate with you."

"People I've had at my wedding don't talk -- my children's weddings actually, they don't talk to me anymore," she explained.

"It's not usually the right or the left, I mean, the intolerance is on the left," she argued.

The longtime Trump friend was harshly criticized for her complaints. Here's some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/joshtpm/status/1282132522332282880

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump disappointed conservative media isn’t praising him enough for letting Roger Stone walk: report

Published

on

President Donald Trump has been disappointed in right-wing media for not giving him more credit for pardoning longtime advisor Roger Stone.

"A senior administration official said there were serious divisions among Trump’s aides and allies over Stone’s case, with some cautioning that keeping him out of prison could be politically risky. Among those opposed was Attorney General William P. Barr, who called the prosecution 'righteous' in an interview Wednesday with ABC News, the official said, adding that those pushing Trump to show loyalty to Stone included Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who is close to the president," The Washington Post reported Saturday.

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

WATCH: GOP congressman suffers coughing fit — while praising Trump at mask-optional GOP convention

Published

on

Republicans in the swing state of Wisconsin gathered in Green bay for a mask-optional convention on Saturday.

"Speakers at the convention also praised Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the president's push to reopen the nation's economy and schools. More than 300 people attended the GOP state convention, with few in attendance wearing face masks, as [recommended] by public health officials," the State Journal reported Saturday.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image