The mistery of Brunelleschi´s Dome

The Cupulina. December 2012

Found a kind of “sketch” of Brunelleschi.

We have before us what is possibly the most important archeological find in this century. It is the younger sister of the done of Santa Maria del Fiore.  Less than a meter deep, the appearance is that of a small rounded dome about three meters in diameter and below the Museo dell ‘Opera del Duomo, or what is the same, just behind the apse of the monumental  church.    The cupulina, as fondly call, appears at the top to be mutilated, without dome lantern, surrounded by marble and iron, unequivocal proof that there were workshops that provided the material for the construction of the Duomo. This  also had been found in documentary evidence that links the Renaissance artist to work performed in the cathedral.

Following the technique called “spina di pesce” Brunelleschis own, internal bricks are placed diagonally, like the spine of a fish. Six centuries have passed since then and now the mystery of the art that the Renaissance genius used to build the dome of Florence Cathedral has been unveiled. To lift it the artist studied Roman art, the domes of medieval and Byzantine domes.

Cúpula Santa Maria del Fiore

Unanimously regarded as perfect in its design, it was the most ambitious project of the Renaissance. Built on an octagonal dome, it is the largest brick structure in the world with a weight of 27,000 tons and a dome lantern 16 feet high inspired by the temples of the Roman Empire. Work began in 1420 and concluded in 1436 making it the first dome built without support of a wooden frame. By then it was called the largest cathedral in Europe. Today is second only to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and the Cathedral of Seville in Spain.

In the perfection of its architecture the artist wanted to express not only a magnificent view of the world but a humanist belief restor. Today, six centuries later,  the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore would be the ultimate expression of that Florentine society.

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