Saturday, October 10, 2015


Orvieto's cathedral is stunning.  It is beautifully rendered architecturally on the interior and extremely ornate on the exterior.   There was one problem with the exterior: The front facade was under restoration.  Here is a shot of one corner of the facade looking up that shows some of the scaffolding for the restoration work.

So no shots of the full facade.  Instead, I focused on details, which were abundant, such as this mosaic in the gable over the left side portal.

Here are a couple of closeups from that mosaic.

There were a series of complex bas-relief sculptures across the front facade that depicted biblical stories.  Collectively, they are considered among the most important of 14th century sculptures.  Here, for example, is the Garden of Eden scene.

I have to say that these are perhaps the homeliest Adam and Eve that I have ever seen.   Check out Eve.  Not exactly feminine.

The only individual who seems happy in this tableau is the serpent.

And here is a scene from Revelation.

A lot more unhappiness.

Although the bronze main portal doors are modern in design, they are truly spectacular.

Here is a detail of the angel in the image above.

The remainder of the exterior is also outstanding, with its alternating black and white marble construction.

I liked that I included the parishioner in this image.  By the way, the complex pattern in the background is actually an exterior wall built around a flying buttress.

Then it was on to the interior.

Here, first, is a classic symmetrical shot from the back of the nave.

This photo makes two points.  First, the cathedral's cavernous nave is essentially empty--not even any seating.  Second, the architectural construction carries through the same black and white striping of the exterior.  Below is a shot of the ceiling over the sanctuary, just visible in the image above.

Here are a couple more wide angle shots of the interior.

Although the nave was only lightly decorated with artwork, one piece in particular caught my attention, a large, beautiful pieta sculpted by Ippolito Scalza in 1579.


Most of the artwork action occurs in the side chapels.  First, a ceiling shot in one of the chapels . . .

and a couple of detail shots of the walls . . . 

illustrating the phenomenal quality of this work.  Great use of perspective in this last shot.

One more image, of one of the windows, a combination of stained glass and translucent alabaster.


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