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Plaster cast - Shrine of St Zenobius
  • Shrine of St Zenobius
    Ghiberti, Lorenzo, born 1378 - died 1455
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Shrine of St Zenobius

  • Object:

    Plaster cast

  • Place of origin:

    Florence (city) (original, sculpted)
    Florence (city) (cast)

  • Date:

    1432-1443 (sculpted)
    ca. 1895 (cast)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ghiberti, Lorenzo, born 1378 - died 1455 (sculptor)
    Lelli, Giuseppe (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plaster cast painted

  • Museum number:

    REPRO.1895-60

  • Gallery location:

    Cast Courts, Room 46b, The Weston Cast Court , case FS, shelf C

This is the plaster cast of the Shrine of St. Zenobius after the bronze original by Lorenzo Ghiberti made between 1432 and 1443. The original is located beneath the altar in the Chapel of St. Zenobius in the Cathedral, Florence, where Ghiberti also made the famous door, the Gates of Paradise.

The original shrine was made to hold the relics of St Zenobius. He was Bishop of Florence in the 5th century and one of the city’s patron saints.
The scenes on the sides show the saint performing miracles. The delicate shallow relief of the design makes this 19th-century plaster copy especially fragile, even though it looks sturdy. It is painted to imitate the original bronze.

Ghiberti (1378-1455) was a most celebrated bronze-caster, sculptor, goldsmith, draughtsman, architect and writer and the first representative of the universial Renaissance artist. His art reached its most brilliant expression in the Gates of Paradise. No other contemporary artist had so deep an influence on the art and sculpture of later times. Ghiberti’s writings, I commentarii, which also include his autobiography, established him as the first modern historian of the fine arts.

Physical description

Plaster Cast of the Shrine of St. Zenobius after the bronze original beneath the altar in the Chapel of St. Zenobius in the Cathedral, Florence. This shrine was made to hold the relics of the saint, as described in the inscription on the shrine: 'CAPVT BEATI ZENOBII FLORENTINI EPISCOPI IN CVIVS HONOREM HEC ARCA INSIGNI ORNATV FAVRICATA FVIT'. On the front St. Zenobius is depicted, restoring a child of the Strozzi family to life. On the sides St. Zenobius is depicted rescuing a child from under the wheels of a cart, and restoring the messenger of St.Ambrose to life.

Place of Origin

Florence (city) (original, sculpted)
Florence (city) (cast)

Date

1432-1443 (sculpted)
ca. 1895 (cast)

Artist/maker

Ghiberti, Lorenzo, born 1378 - died 1455 (sculptor)
Lelli, Giuseppe (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Plaster cast painted

Marks and inscriptions

'CAPVT BEATI ZENOBII FLORENTINI EPISCOPI IN CVIVS HONOREM HEC ARCA INSIGNI ORNATV FAVRICATA FVIT'
Inscribed

Dimensions

Height: 92 cm, Length: 191.5 cm, Width: 76 cm

Object history note

Purchased from Giuseppe Lelli in 1895 for £26 8s 4d.

Historical context note

St Zenobius, bishop of Florence during the fifth century, is one of the principal Florentine patron saints. This shrine was made to hold the relics of the saint, as described in the inscription on the shrine: CAPVT BEATI ZENOBII FLORENTINI EPISCOPI IN CVIVS HONOREM HEC ARCA INSIGNI ORNATV FAVRICATA FVIT. On the front: St Zenobius restores a child of the Strozzi family to life. On the sides: St Zenobius rescues a child from under the wheels of a cart. St Zenobius restores to life the messenger of St Ambrose.

Descriptive line

Plaster Cast, painted plaster, of the Shrine of St. Zenobius, after the bronze original beneath the altar in the Chapel of St. Zenobius in the Cathedral, Florence, by Lorenzo Ghiberti, Florence, 1432-43, cast by Oronzio Lelli, Florence, ca. 1895

Labels and date

The original shrine was made to hold the relics of St Zenobius. He was Bishop of Florence in the 5th century and one of the city’s patron saints. The scenes on the sides show the saint performing miracles. The delicate shallow relief of the design makes this 19th-century plaster copy especially fragile, even though it looks sturdy. It is painted to imitate the original bronze. [2014]

Materials

Plaster

Techniques

Casting

Subjects depicted

Child; Carts

Categories

Ph_survey; Sculpture; Christianity; Religion; Death

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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