Chapels surrounding the apse in the Duomo
The original epitaph was to the right of the door as one enters the Duomo:
QUANTUM PHILIPPUS ARCHITECTUS ARTE DAEDALEA
VALUERIT CUM HUIUS CELEBERRIMI TEMPLI MIRA
TESTUDO TUM PLURES ALIAE DIVINO INGENIO AB EO
ADINVENTAE MACHINAE DOCUMENTO ESSE POSSUNT.
QUAPROPTER OB EXIMIAS SUI ANIMI DOTES
SINGULARESQUE VIRTUTES EIUS B.M. CORPUS XV
CALEND. MAIAS ANNO MCCCCXLVI HAC HUMO
SUPPOSITA GRATA PATRIA SEPELIRI IUSSIT.
Committed to the Divine. The remarkable achievements of architect Filippo, showcased not only in the splendid roof of this renowned church but also in the diverse tools birthed from his exceptional talent, stand as testament. Thus, due to his remarkable spiritual endowments and unparalleled contributions, on April 17, 1446, his appreciative hometown laid his body to rest in the hallowed earth, a fitting tribute to his blessed legacy. Translated from: Giorgio Vasari ‘De Levens van de grootste schilders, beeldhouwers en architecten’ Deel I p. 191
Frederic Lord Leighton ‘The death of Brunelleschi’ 1852
Tomb of Brunelleschi
Nevertheless, there were others who wished to render him even greater honors, and who therefore added the following two lines:
PHILIPPO BRUNELLESCO ANTIQUAE ARCHITECTURAE
S.P.Q.F. CIVI SUO BENEMERENTI.
The senate and people of Florence to their deserving citizen Filippo Brunelleschi, restorer of ancient architecture.
And Giovanbattista Strozzi made this:
TAL SOPRA SASSO SASSO
DI GIRO IN GIRO ETERNAMENTE IO STRUSSI:
CHE COSI PASSO PASSO
ALTO GIRANDO AL CIEL MI RICONDUSSI.
So much was I eternally, layer by layer, heaping stone upon stone: that thus step by step, circling high, I reached heaven.
Translated from: Giorgio Vasari ‘De Levens van de grootste schilders, beeldhouwers en architecten’ Deel I p. 191
The facade of the Duomo
If we walk back out we will have another look at the facade of the Santa Maria del Fiore. Construction of this gothic facade, or better put, neogothic, only started in 1875. Prior to that, the facade looked similar to what you can presently see at the San Lorenzo.
Work on a gothic facade did already start in the first half of the fourteenth century, but it was only half completed as they were no longer satisfied with the old style. This fourteenth-century facade was of major importance to sculpting. By the fifteenth century, a number of statues were crafted for this facade including by Donatello. (Click here for the story about these statues).
We will have a look at this on the days we examine sculpting art when we visit the splendid museum behind the Duomo: the Opera del Duomo. The collection includes several statues made by Arnolfo di Cambio, which he made for the facade in the early 1400s. (click here for the story about the statues for the facade of Cambio). When Pope Leo X (Medici) visits his city in 1515, a wooden construction is erected against the facade to make the Duomo look good. In 1587, the semi-gothic facade is torn down, but people could not decide which of the submitted designs should be constructed.
The current facade, completed in 1887, is barely distinguishable from an authentic gothic facade. The statues alone reveal a neogothic style. This is because they look straight down at the people below, something a Medieval sculptor would refrain from doing.