OPUS FLORENTINUM Florence Cathedral Square among faith, history and art
Curated by Mariella Carlotti and Samuele Caciagli
In collaboration with the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore of Florence.
Opus Florentinum; this is how Mario Luzi titled one of his last poetic creations, which was dedicated to the construction of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.
The Cathedral Square of Florence is a universe. Many pages in the history of the world were written in this space, and great political and religious events along with artistic, literary, and scientific businesses had this square as their stage.
The exhibition – made possible by the Meeting along with the Opera of Santa Maria del Fiore – wants to give a key to understanding this piazza to outsiders who do not know the history of art and who, even without knowing why, find themselves astonished in the face of beauty. As a common theme, the exhibition uses the sculptural circles that decorate the outside of the three main buildings of the square: the baptistery, the cathedral, and the bell tower.
In the mosaic and sculptural series of the baptistery – the bel San Giovanni so dear to Dante – is described the surprise of the heart in the face of the Advent of Christ, which so unpredictably corresponded to the human expectation. The Advent of Christ, of God made man, continues to live on in the history of the believers. The Cathedral celebrates Mary, the beginning of this new generation which soars through the centuries. In the bell tower, this adventure takes place with the celebration of work, represented at the base of the tower. Man is called by Christ to be jointly responsible for the creation, in the long and exciting journey that is the history of time.
In the square, next to the Cathedral, is the headquarters of the Confraternita della Misericordia, that for eight centuries has served the needs of the poor and that is there to remind us that the supreme beauty of the human life is love. A love in which flowers the testimony of faith, this precious jewel / on which is founded every virtue (Paradiso, XXIV, 89-90).
The exhibition is born on the eve of two important events for this piazza, and even these have drawn the gaze.
First of all, the National Convention of the Church in Italy will take place in Florence in November 2015, the theme of which is “In Gesù Cristo il nuovo umanesimo.” The Christian heart of Florence – in the form of architecture, mosaic masterpieces, statues, and paintings – is an exceptional contribution that a centuries-old tradition offers, by means of artistic tradition, to the congress and to the life of the church today.
Secondly, in the autumn of 2015, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo will reopen its doors. After the Vatican museums, it has the largest collection of sacred art in the world, with masterpieces of Arnolfo, Donatello, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Luca della Robbia, and Michelangelo. The museum, in a renewed and expanded role that renders the significance and form of the square more usable, will offer visitors masterpieces from the baptistery, the bell tower, and the Cathedral of Florence. At the exit of the exhibition, an immersive room will show a virtual view of the new Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.