Transactions of the Japan Academy
Online ISSN : 2424-1903
Print ISSN : 0388-0036
ISSN-L : 0388-0036
On the Dates of the Mosaic of San Giovanni Baptistery of Florence
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1991 Volume 45 Issue 3 Pages 113-142


The Baptistery San Giovanni in Florence, Italy, is built during the second half of the 11th century, and its interior architectural arrangement must be almost settled in the first half of the next century, when the stone lantern edicul is posed on the top of the cupola in 1150. The author proposes that in about this date they started the execution of the first original mosaic decoration of the cupola embracing the antique roman ornament, ambitious thema of the celestial hierarchy, the great Last Judgment with Hell and Paradise, and four series of fifteen small pictures of sacred stories. All the decoration must be realized in the style of 11-12th century romanesque painting, with flesh and flat colours combination without chiaro-scuro.
Then comes, in 1302, the enlargement of the sanctuary to the present Tribuna, and its vault is adorned on a sophiscated schema by a new style of somber tone in chiaro-scuro. Its artist and date are inscribed, the Franciscan Jacobus, 1225. He put the end of the Decoration. The first original mosaics of the cupola much suffered the damages of defections and were obliged to receive many works of reparations in the succesive centuries, which alter much the original aspects of the cupola decoration. But in several parts the mosaics convey the original expression, the Hell and Angels in the Heaven, for example.

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