Art-Test participates with diagnostic tests to the restoration of 1100 m2 mosaics of the Baptistery in Florence

Mar 19, 2023 | Art-Test News, Cutural Heritage, Restoration, Studies and Projects

The large project for the Baptistery has entered its final phase. It is supported by the Opera del Duomo and started in 2014 with the restoration of the external facades and roof covering.

The project will conclude by 2028 with the restoration of the approximately 1100 square meters of 13th-century mosaics that decorate the dome of one of Florence’s oldest and most symbolic monuments. The mosaics preparatory designs were by artists such as Cimabue and Coppo di Marcovaldo, and on the sides of the grand scene of the Last Judgment, (that appear to have inspired the representation of hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy), they narrate, in four registers, the Stories of Genesis, Joseph the Jew, Christ, and the Baptist.

If the history of the mosaics dates so back in time, so is that of their restorations. From the archival research that preceded the project, it was learned that the first maintenance interventions started as early as the 1300s and were necessary due to water infiltration from the roof. We know that initially the artist Agnolo Gaddi was commissioned to the restoration, and later, starting in 1483, the Opera assigned an annual income to the painter Alesso Baldovinetti to verify the stability of the mosaics and intervene where necessary. Many other interventions followed these, but the last one dates back over a century ago.

In view of the six-year restoration, a campaign of non-invasive diagnostic investigations has begun, namely high-frequency ground-penetrating radar, multispectral imaging, and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) acquisitions, for the knowledge and characterization of the conservation status of the dome and the mosaic decoration.

The working group is composed of Art-Test and SOING structures and environment. A challenging but highly satisfying site.

For the first time in its long history, visits to the mosaics will be open to the public. If you are interested, please visit this site: Exclusive Tours (duomo.firenze.it)

Anna Pelagotti
Anna Pelagotti

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Image taken during the construction of the restoration site of the mosaic dome of the Florence Baptistery.
Photos by Studio Fotografico – Francesco Degli Innocenti – FDI Photography Studio