Giotto Madonna Moved to the Cathedral Museum

Giotto’s Madonna alla Costa

After 25 years away from public display, Giotto’s work Madonna alla Costa has found a new home in Florence’s Cathedral Museum (Museo dell’Opera del Duomo).

The Renaissance artist Giotto di Bondone (1270 – 1337), most commonly known as simply Giotto, has works that are exhibited also globally, reaching the MET gallery in New York.

Giotto was not just a painter. He is famous for designing the bell tower of the Duomo and the intricate frescoes in the Basilica of Santa Croce. Yet, Giotto’s unique style and abilities leave his art unparalleled. He was commissioned by churches across Italy to create masterpieces to adorn their interiors.

Many deem Giotto responsible for initiating the transition between two dimensional, Byzantine depictions of religious figures and the realist painting movement during the 13th century Renaissance Italy. Particularly, his famous piece The Madonna di San Giorgio alla Costa is believed by art historians to mark the beginning of this transition.

Like many Renaissance artists, a handful his works have been damaged or lost over the years, including this influential Madonna.

The oil painting was originally done for the church for which it was named on the Costa San Giorgio, which resides upon the Oltrarno hill behind the Bardini Gardens. The Madonna was then moved to the Diocesan Museum at the church of Santo Stefano al Ponte in Florence during the 1900s, where it was damaged in the Mafia bombing on Via dei Georgofili in May 1993.

The painting was restored by artisans who intentionally left a tear in the top left corner, to serve as a reminder of the bombing and warning of the damages caused by violence, but it has remained in the archives of the Diocesan for the last 25 years.

While the Diocesan Museum has remained closed to the public since 1993, the Cathedral Museum (Museo dell’Opera del Duomo) is temporarily hosting the restored Madonna di San Giorgio alla Costa for the near future.   Visting hours are 9 am – 8 pm, closed the first Tuesday of the month.  (anna rosin)