Carrara cathedral


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Carrara cathedral

  1. 1. "Socrates Comenius Project" Liceo Scientifico “G. Marconi” Carrara 2010-2011 CARRARA CATHEDRAL Class II F Prof. L. Codega 1
  2. 2. HISTORICAL OUTLINE Carrara Cathedral, dedicated to the apostle St.Andrew, is a medieval building whose structures are entirely made of Apuan marble blocks. The cathedral is mentioned for the first time in a document of the year 1035 as "Ecclesia Sancti Andree de Carraria". It was only completed three centuries later, and Carrara was still a little village. 2
  3. 3. The church is diagonally positioned in relation to the square in front of it. The architectural structure is complex, as it shows the different phases of its construction and the fact that Lunigiana is a border land. 3
  4. 4. The lower part is Romanesque, and the upper parts, in particular the external ones, are Gothic. 4
  5. 5. The first phase of the construction (1070-1140) shows Parmesan and Pisan influences. Many are, in fact, the analogies to the cathedral of Parma, especially in most ancient elements, like the main portal. However the horizontal stripes of black and white Colonnata marble of the façade are typical of Pisan and Ligurian architecture. 5
  6. 6. The second phase of construction (in the second half of the XII century) carried out by builders from Lucca, is easily recognisable especially in the frequent use of human and animal figures and in Corinthian capitals. 6
  7. 7. In the second half of the XIII century the church tower was completed. 7
  8. 8. The third and last phase of construction (XIV century) is the work of Pisan builders. It concerns the upper part of the façade with the magnificent rose- window and the portico which displays a series of busts inserted on capitals; they are important examples of Tuscan sculpture. On the façade the final element, which should overhang the rose-window, is missing. 8
  9. 9. Towards the end of the XV century the walls, which had, until then, been left rough and without plaster, began to be painted. In later age some altars and ornaments were added. 9
  10. 10. In 1947-1948 the decision was made to restore the cathedral, as much as possible, to its original condition: six altars were removed. In 1992 the long and delicate cleaning work of the façade and of the side portal, known as St.John's, was completed. 10
  11. 11. DESCRIPTION OF THE EXTERIOR The church tower. The church tower is about 33 metres tall, and is entirely made of marble. It's made up of five floors, on which windows of a making that varies according to the storey open up. The pyramidal-shaped spire is enriched by small steeples. The execution of this work was doubtlessly carried out in two different phases. There are differences between the lower and upper part, in which the ashlars are squarer and are inserted with more regularity. 11
  12. 12. The aisles’ back walls and the external apse The side aisles’ back walls present, in the upper part, small arches that rest on corbels. In the lower part we find in both sides an ogival window with one light. 12
  13. 13. The central aisle's back wall is decorated with small ogival arches that rest on corbels on which human heads or animals are engraved. The hollows in the arches toward the square bear ornamental carvings; among them a wheel and a cock are recognisable. 13
  14. 14. The external apse is semi-circular shaped. A small loggia winds along its perimeter and rests on a frame that is partly decorated with flowery patterns; from there small pillars spring up and they finish up with capitals of different shape and size; some are decorated with a leaf, others are geometrical in shape. The small arches above the pillars are ogival. Down below three windows with one light open up: in the central one a man holds a leaf with the epigraph "Andreas". Between the two side-windows an ox and a palm leaf are carved. 14
  15. 15. The façade In the façade it is possible to determine with precision the different styles in the different epochs of construction. As it is, the lower part is Romanesque and the upper one is Gothic. At the base there are alternating stripes of black Colonnata marble and stripes of white marble. 15
  16. 16. The most praiseworthy element of this façade is the portal; at its sides it is possible to see two pillars with finely executed capitals with flowery patterns and human figures. In the round arch rampant animals that culminate in an eagle, nowadays beheaded, are represented. At the margins of the pillars two columns are enclosed; from them an arch, shorter than the first one, starts. It is in the shape of a festoon and is decorated with flowery patterns. The lunette is decorated with geometrical patterns. 16
  17. 17. The upper part is characterized by the central rose-window that is inscribed in a square whose sides are constituted by a rhomb-pierced frame. The rose-window is formed by twenty mullions that form a sunburst ornament and bear small Gothic arches. At the two sides of the rose-window a loggia starts; its height decreases from the centre to the exterior. The connection between the arches is constituted by human heads that are, in some cases, real masterpieces of Gothic sculpture. 17
  18. 18. The south side The south side, which opens up onto the cathedral square, is divided, in the lower part, into three sections, which are bordered by two pillars. The first one recalls, with its black and white marble squares, the Romanesque motifs of the façade. In it we find St.John's Portal, that is not unlike the façade's one. The fine decorations of arch-beams and of the round arch are remarkable. 18
  19. 19. In the other two parts it is possible to see two elegant windows with one light. In the first one an eagle is engraved and the architectonical elements are decorated in a rich and complex way: one can see a human head and flowery patterns. The second one, much simpler, bears the sculpture of a lion. 19
  20. 20. In the sottogronda of the lower part one can see small round arches, some simple, others decorated with flowery patterns or with animals. The upper part is decked with small ogival arches; some are simple, and others, that are the ones closer to the façade, are decked with elaborate frames and bear, in the interdossi, geometrical decorations such as the wheel or the cross. 20
  21. 21. DESCRIPTION OF THE INTERIOR The interior is austere; the marble walls are covered with a grey patina built up over the centuries. It is divided into three aisles that are bordered by two rows of columns and pillars surmounted by round arches: it all adds up to eight columns and a pillar per side. 21
  22. 22. The columns show a great variety of styles, especially in the capitals. In the capital of the firs semi-column on the right aisle the visit that Mary paid to St. Elizabeth is carved: it is Lombard in structure. 22
  23. 23. The second column is unique in the church in so that is cross-shaped. According to some it is a real Gothic pillar. The capitals, all different between each other, betray the fact that their makers came from Pisa, Lucca or from Emilia. 23
  24. 24. The presbytery dates back to the XII century and is the work of hands from Lucca. The capitals, of which the left one is in the Corinthian style and the right one is the result of mixed styles and has big flowers inside the scrolls, pre-announces the Gothic style. In correspondence to the space between the second and the third column, St.John's portal in the right aisle and the entrance to the Great Company and to the Baptistery in the left one open up. 24
  25. 25. A) Main entrance B) St. John’s Portal C) Entrance to the Great Company and to the Baptistery 1) Altar of the Crowned Martyrized Saints 2) Saint Ceccardo's Altar 3) Saint Ceccardo's Sarcophagus 4) The Cassanelle 5) The Crucifix of Divine Providence 6) Our Lady of the People's Altar 7) The Altar of the Most Holy Annunciation 25
  26. 26. Altar of the Crowned Martyrized Saints Entering the cathedral through St.John's portal, on the left it can be found the altar of the "Crowned Martyrized Saints", more commonly known as altar of the "Four Martyrized Saints", patrons of the sculptors and of the marble workers. The high- relief on the table above the altar was completed in 1869 by Pietro Lazzerini from Carrara, and it represents the four saints at the moment of their martyrdom. In fact the martyrs that are portrayed on the sculpture aren't four, but five. As the legend goes, the four Romans who refused to carve Pagan gods were joined by a "praetorian", who was so struck by the courage and serenity of the four condemned to death penalty that he refused to take part in the execution and was therefore killed as well. At the sides of the altar there are two XVI century high relieves that portray "Magdalen with a vase of perfumes" and "St.Lucy”. 26
  27. 27. Saint Ceccardo's Altar Saint Ceccardo's altar is placed half way down the right aisle. It is very simple, in XVII century style. The saint's beheaded body is kept inside a marble niche under the altar table, and it is protected behind a red banner and a grate. In the upper part of the altar there is a XVII century painting by an unknown artist that represents St.Ceccardo's beheading. 27
  28. 28. St.Ceccardo, patron of Carrara, was beheaded because of his faith,according to the tradition, in the year 600: it is said that a water spring with healing powers sprang out from the spot where his head hit the ground. The altar covers half of a XV century wall painting that was discovered during the restoration work in the aftermath of World War II. 28
  29. 29. Saint Ceccardo's Sarcophagus The sarcophagus, which used to hold the saint's body and that dates back to the XVI century, is placed on the left of the altar. It was carved into a single block of marble and it bears flowery decorations carved into simple frames. The lid used to be connected to the urn by iron side- joints whose remains can still be seen. The tomb is born by two puttos which are probably XVII century. Along the sarcophagus's lower edge one can read, from left to right, the inscription "HIC IACET CORPUS DIVI CECARDI MARTIRIS EPI LUNENSIS" which means "here lays the body of St.Ceccardo martyr bishop of Luni" .The right side bears the inscription "HIC SANCTVS PASSVS EST P FIDE XPI SVB ANO CCCCCC" which means "here the Saint was martyrized for his faith in Christ in the year 600". 29
  30. 30. The Cassanelle "Le Cassanelle" are a masterpiece of Gothic sculpture (XIV century), of Pisan School and French influence. They represent the Annunciation with the angel on the left who shows a paper scroll with the latin inscription" AVE GRATIA PLENA" and Maria on the right. The two statues are made of Carrara white marble, but the basements, from a more recent age, are made of ordinary marble. According to the tradition the two figures are called " Le Cassanelle" probably because this name is connected to Gassano, the village where Bartolomeo Vasi, church artist and benefactor, was born. He made the holy water basin near St.John's door. 30
  31. 31. The Crucifix of Divine Providence The Crucifix of Divine Providence is a wooden fourteenth century cross, whose style recalls the school of Toscana and Umbria. It's placed at the center of the presbytery, and it hangs from a finely wrought metal chain. 31
  32. 32. Its shape is complex. The main figure, Christus Patiens (in opposition to Christus Triunphans from an earlier age), is set in the middle, depicted with realism; on the two arms of the cross you can find the Virgin on the left and John, the favourite disciple, on the right. On the two arms of the cross, two grids with the figures of the four evangelists including the symbols referred to them: John with the eagle and Luke with the ox on the left; Mark with the lion and Matthew with the angel and the New Testament on the right. At the top the figure of God, the Father, with a pelican. This bird, according to a well known symbology, feeds his breed on his blood until it dies. This represents Jesus Christ's sacrifice. 32
  33. 33. Our Lady of the People's Altar Our Lady of the people's altar is placed in the left aisle; it's a XVI century piece of work, simple yet elegant. Here, on the Lord's Table, inside a marble frame placed between two marble columns, there is a painting of the Madonna which dates back to the last century and portrays the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus with the keys of the town in her hand: our Lady of the People, patron of Carrara. Under the painting an engraved marble tablet remembers one of the many miraculous interventions by the Madonna to protect Carrara's people. 33
  34. 34. The Altar of the Most Holy Annunciation The Altar of the Most Holy Annunciation is placed at the left of the main entrance, and it rests against the façade's inside wall. It was executed around 1310 by Lapo, son of Maestro Giroldo from Lugano. The present condition is the result of various interventions and re-makings that were carried out in different epochs. A beautiful frame that forms a vault resting on two square columns with capitals, and which is decorated with relieves, dates back to the XV century. Nowadays it is quite blackened by candle smoke. The Annunciation that can be admired nowadays dates back to the Baroque age, with evident influences of Bernini school, as so as the altar, in polychromatic marble marquetry. At the centre of the altar, between the two statues, there is a large chalk crucifix painted black, dating back to the XV century. It is attributed to the sculptor from Carrara Pietro Tacca. For this reason the altar is also known as "Altar of the Crucifix". 34
  35. 35. Bibliography G. Paoletti, Il duomo di Carrara, Massa 1996 F. Buselli, S. Andrea Apostolo Duomo a Carrara, edited by the Cassa di Risparmio di Carrara, 1972 We would like to thank Father Raffaello Piagentini, parson of the cathedral, and Eleonora Grasso, student at Accademia di Belle Arti in Carrara, for their kind collaboration. 35
  36. 36. Davide Bichi 2010 II F 2011 Alessio Ratti (not in the photo) Nicolas Luigi Giromini Maddaluno (not in the photo) Paolo Andreani Valentina Pardi Davide Gasparotti Rebecca Tamberi Gabriele Letizia Fusani Berbieri Andrea Veronica Del Sarto Brandani Riccardo Luca Tedeschi Falchetta Luca “Palaus” Davide Iardella Vatteroni Giacomo Zannoni Valentina Bianchi Sara Cardi Cigoli Martina Corsini Michele Rossi Giacomo Bertolucci Girolamo Palazzolo Cristian Cordiviola Davide Perini 36