Crespi Giovanni Battista Cerano
Bronze Doors, Virgin Mary
Duomo di Milano
Bronze doors of the Milan Cathedral, Italy`s largest cathedral and at a larger scale it is the fourth largest cathedral in the world. One of the most famous buildings in the world, the gothic structure really represented a challenge for architects, since it took nearly six centuries to be completed. The Milan Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan, currently Cardinal Angelo Scola and it is dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente (Saint Mary Nascent). The Gothic style in which the church was decorated reminds us more of the French style rather than the Italian one.The one who initiatied this grand project was Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo,in 1386.
Oscar Wilde visited Milan in June 1875. In a letter to his mother he wrote: "The Cathedral is an awful failure. Outside the design is monstrous and inartistic. The over-elaborated details stuck high up where no one can see them; everything is vile in it; it is, however, imposing and gigantic as a failure, through its great size and elaborate execution."
Mark Twain: “What a wonder it is! So grand, so solemn, so vast! And yet so delicate, so airy, so graceful! A very world of solid weight, and yet it seems ...a delusion of frostwork that might vanish with a breath!... The central one of its five great doors is bordered with a bas-relief of birds and fruits and beasts and insects, which have been so ingeniously carved out of the marble that they seem like living creatures-- and the figures are so numerous and the design so complex, that one might study it a week without exhausting its interest...everywhere that a niche or a perch can be found about the enormous building, from summit to base, there is a marble statue, and every statue is a study in itself...Away above, on the lofty roof, rank on rank of carved and fretted spires spring high in the air, and through their rich tracery one sees the sky beyond. ... (Up on) the roof...springing from its broad marble flagstones, were the long files of spires, looking very tall close at hand, but diminishing in the distance...We could see, now, that the statue on the top of each was the size of a large man, though they all looked like dolls from the street... They say that the Cathedral of Milan is second only to St. Peter's at Rome. I cannot understand how it can be second to anything made by human hands.”
A staggering 3,500 statues adorn the Duomo, about two thirds of them on the exterior. The oldest are at the apse end, which was built from 1386 to 1447; those along the sides were added as the building work progressed, between the late 15th and early 18th centuries. The façade is baroque up to the first order of windows, and neo-Gothic above. Each of the five bronze doors that provide access to the Duomo was sculpted by a different artist between 1840 and 1965, along particular themes. To appreciate the statues and 135 spires fully, take the lift (which is near the back of the Duomo, on the left-hand side) to the roof, from where, on clear days, you also get breathtaking views of the Alps. A roof visit brings you closer to an icon dear to the hearts of the Milanese: the Madonnina (1774), the gilded copper figure of Mary on the church's highest spire that was the city's highest point until it was pipped by the Pirelli skyscraper in 1958.
Access to the cathedral is made through five large bronze doors from Piazza Duomo. He was raised in 1582 when construction of the main gates of the Temple, but it was not until 1628 that began its development, and until 1908 was not opened the front door. This door is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and each of their boxes has a biblical chapter that refers to the life of the Virgin. They are the result of the work of various Italian artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The portals are decorated with reliefs made between s. XVI and XVII with Cerano designs.