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The Maestà returns to its place on the facade of the Cathedral

On June 13, 2009, the eve of the Corpus Christi festivities, the Opera del Duomo announced that the Maestà and angels, albeit in the form of a copy, was once more in its place on the facade of the Cathedral of Orvieto.

The splendid group of the Maestà in marble and bronze was set over the main portal of the Cathedral of Orvieto around 1329, the central element of the complex iconographic program of the facade and as a symbol of the titular saint of the Cathedral, Our Lady of the Assumption, an image already planned for in the first project for the facade. Both the parts in marble and in bronze are of outstanding quality, even though they differ in style and chronology. The Madonna dates to the early fourteenth century and the baldachin and six bronze angels (1325) were added some years later, perhaps on account of the technical difficulties involved.

The extraordinary sculptural complex was removed from the facade in 1983, due to the deterioration caused by pigeon droppings and environmental factors. After being dismantled restoration was carried out between 1983 and 1990 by the Soprintendenza per i Beni Architettonici e Storico Artistici dell'Umbria (today BAP and PSAE), in collaboration with the Istituto Centrale per il Restauro (now ISCR). Subsequently it was decided to house the group permanently in the museum and a study was undertaken to create a copy to set in the original site.

The project for a physical reproduction of the marble and bronze group of the Maestà and Curtain-holding angels also became reality thanks to the economic support of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Orvieto and the Ente Cassa di Risparmio of Florence, generous sponsors of this important initiative. The technical-scientific contribution of the Istituto Centrale per la Conservazione e il Restauro, entrusted with the physical reproduction of the sculptures, and ENEA, in charge of studies on the return of the copy in situ, was also fundamental.

Between 2007 and 2009, the project, authorized and coordinated by the Soprintendenze per i Beni Architettonici e Paesaggistici e per i Beni Storico Artistici ed Etnoantropologici dell'Umbria, was terminated thanks to the collaboration of the ISCR, in particular Prof. Giorgio Accardo and the team of the Laboratory of Physics, and of ENEA, under the direction of Ing. Gerardo De Canio, in charge of the Laboratorio di Prove Sismiche dell'Ente.

The copies were made by the master caster Alessandro Fagioli of Rome and mounted on a metal frame made by the firm Chiarapin-Ricci of Orvieto.


Museo dell’Opera del Duomo di Orvieto

Opera del Duomo di Orvieto - 26, Piazza del Duomo - 05018 Orvieto Tel +39 0763 342477 - Fax: +39 0763 340336
email: info@museomodo.it

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