Bapistery-Florence: Battistero di S. Giovanni

Department Archive
Collection Byzantine Research Fund
Reference No. BRF/01/05/02/002
Level Item
Place Florence
Dates Oct. 3-4, 1888
Creator Weir Schultz, Mr Robert
Barnsley, Mr Sidney Howard
Scope and Content Bapistery-Florence. Detail of opus sectile on the pavement. This is a preliminary drawing. It is dated and labelled in pencil in the lower right-hand corner. "Oct. 3-4.88"
Further information The Baptistery of Florence is an octagonal building, one of the oldest in the city, dedicated to St John the Baptist. It was built between 1059 and 1128 on Roman ruins, replacing early Christian octagonal baptisteries on the site, and the octagonal shape has been a common shape for baptisteries for many centuries.
Its architecture is of Romanesque style while additions and alternations were made to the building in the 12th and the 13th c. The baptistery is lavisly decorated both on the exterior and the interior. Geometrically patterned coloured marble slabs and statues by significant Italian early Renaissance artists decorate the exterior, an impressive marble opus sectile ornates the floor.
The Baptistery is renowned for its three sets of bronze doors decorated with relief statues executed between the 14th and the 16th c. by some of the most important artists of the Italian Renaissance.
The mosaic decoration in the dome, which depicts the Last Judgment, Old Testament scenes and scenes from the Life of Christ, the Virign and St John the Baptist, were produced in the 13th c. and strongly recall Byzantine mosaics of the period. The building functioned as a baptistery until the end of the 19th c.