Wednesday, October 7, 2015


The Pienza Cathedral, or Duomo, is a lovely church, if a bit small by Italian standards.  Built in the mid-15th century in a Renaissance gothic tradition, it is relatively modest and unassuming on the exterior, as indicated in the following shots.

Missing are all the intricate statuary found on the exterior of other cathedrals, such as Siena's or Orvieto's.  But I liked the cathedral's unassuming character.

The building has a structural problem.  It is built at the edge of a bluff overlooking the Val d'Orcia with its apse to the bluff, and the apse is sinking.  When we were told this by our guide, I didn't think much about it, until we actually walked to the apse area.  The slope is really quite pronounced.  Obviously, the Church and the town continue to work on a solution.

Following is a shot of the cathedral's bell tower, as seen from further along the edge of the bluff.

And here is a shot of one of the church's entrances that I liked for the individuals exiting the building.

I've decided that including individuals in a photo can add both perspective and interest to what might otherwise be a relatively sterile shot.

I thought the cathedral's interior was quite interesting, even though it carried through the austere quality of the exterior.  Here is an almost mandatory symmetrical shot from the back of the nave looking toward the sanctuary.

The ceiling was vaulted and I tried to capture that architectural feature in the following shots.

This last shot, looking up one of the supporting columns, didn't quite work.  There is a problem with symmetry, but I couldn't figure out if it was my camera positioning or something asymmetrical about the cathedral's construction . . . I'm guessing the former.

My favorite elements of this church, though, were its windows.  They were virtually free of stained glass color, but I found them to be powerful nevertheless, in part because of what was posed in silhouette in front of them.

My favorite shots were of a crucifix posed in front of one of the windows.

Even though the Christ figure is actually posed as a side view, the chiaroscuro effect is powerful, especially in the second image where the arches act to frame the overall scene.  One of my favorite images from the tour.


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