The Lantern


Creator:  Filippo Brunelleschi
Title:  Wooden Model of the Lantern of Santa Maria del Fiore
Date:  c. 1436
Medium:  Wood
Repository:  Museum of the Opera of Santa Maria del Fiore

The great dome of Santa Maria del Fiore was completed in 1436, and was consecrated by Pope Eugenius IV on March 25, the first day of the Florentine new year.  (Fanelli and Fanelli, 30).  However, much work was still to be done.  The lantern which is the crowning feature of the dome had yet to be designed or constructed.  After being commissioned by the works committee of the cathedral, Brunelleschi submitted this model for his design for the lantern.  After the proposal was accepted, Brunelleschi began to build the lantern, which was to be created of white marble.

Unfortunately, Brunelleschi died soon after the first stone of the lantern was put in place, however, the lantern was completed according to his plans.  It was not until 1471 that the final piece was set at the top of the lantern.

Vasari noted that “with his own hands, Filippo made a model for the lantern with eight sides based upon the proportions of the dome, which, to tell the truth, turned out very well because of its inventiveness variety, and decoration”. (Vasari, 136)

Works Cited:

Fanelli, G and Fanelli, M. Brunelleschi’s Cupola, Past and Present of an Architectural Masterpiece.  Mandragora s.r.l. 2004
Vasari, G. The Lives of the Artists. Oxford University Press, translated by J.C. Bondanella and P. Bondanella. 2008


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