The Golden North Doors of Ghiberti – Florence Baptistery

An exciting discovery has been made during the restoration of the North Doors of Florence Baptistery: notwithstanding time and pollution the original gilding has been found on the twenty-eight panels engraved by Lorenzo Ghiberti between 1403 and 1424 depicting the life of Christ from the New Testament, the four evangelists and the Church Fathers St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Gregory and St. Augustine.

After six centuries the gilded bronze North doors of the Baptistery have literally seen the light thanks to the restoration started a couple of months ago at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, the Workshop of Semi-Precious Stones, a public institute of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage based in Florence. Here, since 1932, the second branch of the Institute, the Laboratory of Restoration, has been restoring important masterpieces.

It took the Institute 27 years to restore the Baptistery’s Gates of Paradise, but with the experience and technique reached during that colossal work, today Ghiberti’s doors are reckoned to be ready within the end of 2015 for the inauguration of the new Opera’s Museum. To date, two panels are shining again thanks to the Institute’s intervention. These are:

The Baptism of Jesus – here seen before the restoration

During the restoration

And after the restoration

And the Temptation of Christ – before the restoration

During the restoration

And after the restoration.

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