This, and two others like it, are coming to Chicago in the Spring.
Read about it here.

Hello Beautiful!

I know them well. Their beauty has brought me to tears, I do not say reduced me to tears, I feel I gained by it, when I saw them in Florence. I knew them well there. I was lucky to live in Florence for a few years.

In the early morning, I’d ride my bike over the cobblestone streets, to the Baptistery on which these panels stand. Back then it was the Ghiberti’s originals, still on the door. (One was always “in restauro,” replaced sometimes with just a piece of plywood!) But inside was a most mysterious early morning service. With incense, chanting, and those golden mosaics on the ceiling.

I wonder what effect these will have on me when I see them in Chicago? Without Brunelleschi’s great reddish, brown, white ribbed cathedral dome looming over them, protecting them, and the city.


PS I think Donatello’s Mary Magdalena was still inside the Baptistery then. it’s in a nearby museum now. I like this description of that work by James T. Baker

“…the Magdalena, done in wood in 1455 for the cathedral baptistry in Florence. Emaciated, mad, with long hair that merges with skins, ravaged by a life of dissipation and then long repentence, she is one of the most powerful works of Christian art, the perfect example of the grotesque made beautiful.”

photo: Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence

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