Baptistry North Doors restored

With the lengthy and laborious restoration of the Baptistery’s Gates of Paradise now complete, officials at the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore have a new project: that of restoring the Baptistry’s north doors.

Also made by Renaissance artist Lorenzo Ghiberti, the Baptistery’s north doors are next in line for a clean and shine.

Restorers working on the baptistery north door. Photo by Marco Mori / New Press Photo

Restorers are currently on-site, in piazza Duomo, cleaning the first layer of dirt and pollution from the massive set of bronze doors, made by Ghiberti in the 1400s.

By the end of February 2013, the bas relief panels of the doors will be removed in a very delicate operation and soon thereafter the doors themselves will be removed and transported in the thick of the night to the workshop of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure.

During this time, from February 27 to March 19, the Baptistry will be closed to the public. Once a copy of the north doors are installed, the Baptistry will be reopened to visitors.

Starting of the restorations. Photo by Marco Mori / New Press Photo

Once restored to their original splendor, the originals will be moved to the Museo dell’Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, where the Gates of Paradise are now housed.

The North Doors feature 28 panels that depict scenes from the New Testament and even include a self-portrait, in bas relief, of Ghiberti wearing a turban.

North door of the Baptistery. Courtesy of the Opera di santa Maria del Fiore

The restoration is being supported in part through funds raised by the newly formed Guild of the Dome Association. The entire project will cost more than nine million euro.

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