Sunday, June 19, 2011

Florence Cathedral Baptistry

The much older Baptistry rivals the Duomo in interest, at least to us. It was built in the 11th century, but, because of its octagonal (Roman) shape, Roman columns and sarcophagi, Islamic geometic floor mosaics, etc., was long thought to be much older than merely Medieval.
The Baptistry

Most people, including us in the past, visit the
Baptistry only to see the great 15th century
bronze doors done by Ghiberti (who won the
competition over Brunelleschi (who decided
to try architecture instead)); but the great east
doors, now kept in the Duomo museum, were
undergoing restoration; hence we skipped the
musem, and thereby missed the above,
Michaelangelo's beloved Conehead Pieta

The Exact Replica Doors were there, and still
pretty impressive

Detail: Creation, etc.

Moses getting The Law

David slaying Goliath; etc.

Ghiberti self-portrait

Inside the Baptistry, things get really interesting...the altar
with its weird designs

In the gallery, more interesting, seemingly
Roman designs

And the seemingly Islamic mosaic floor

The great dome of the baptistry is totally Byzantine, as one
would expect from its age; gleaming gold mosaic telling all
the relevant Biblical stories

Another day, another Pantokrator


Hell and a great Satan

Have you ever wondered whether you can be
de-poped? Sure you have! And the answer is
yes, you can have your papacy revoked, as in
fact happened with the guy buried here, the
original Pope John the 23rd, now more
officially known as Anti-Pope John the 23rd;
this was during the Great Schism, early 15th
century, with popes in both Rome and
Avignon, and eventally a third one, too; J23 is
here in Florence because Florence backed him
and not the pope in Rome; check it all out at

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