After two years of restoration, last night at 9:30 pm the first half of the Baptistery North doors by Lorenzo Ghiberti left the Opificio Delle Pietre Dure to be moved into the new Opera del Duomo Museum. It was a matter of moving a 4,000 Kg work of art for about 500 metres, going through the most suggestive place in Florence: Piazza del Duomo. This is part of a series of interventions on the heritage of the Cathedral of Florence, made for the scheduled visit of Pope Francesco in town between November 9th and 13th. During this month, scaffoldings will be removed from the Baptistery after works to remove the effect of pollution on the external decoration. The improved Opera del Duomo Museum, featuring the restored doors, will reopen on October 29th, 2015.
Baptistery North doors competition
It was 1401 when the famous competition for the Baptistery North doors was held In Florence. The most reputable artists took part to win the job which in the end was assigned to Lorenzo Ghiberti, preferred to Filippo Brunelleschi for his superior ability in casting bronze. This is one of the most important events in the history of art, and it is considered the event that triggered the Renaissance. Later on, Ghiberti received the job for another set of doors, that are called “The Gates of Paradise”. After the flood of 1966, the Gates of Paradise were restored and moved into the Opera del Duomo Museum (the restoration work finished in 2012), now it was the turn of the Baptistery North doors, and shortly after the South doors, more ancient (Andrea Pisano, 1300-1333) will be restored as well and moved to the museum in 2017. Both doors will be replaced on site by a copy, made with the same technique. The restoration of the Baptistery North doors allowed the gilding, covered by dust and by the damage caused by the flood, to be recovered. The new Opera del Duomo Museum will have on display the Baptistery doors in a huge room where the lost unfinished original facade of the Duomo will be rebuilt, using the original statues, based on drawings made right before it was torn down in 1587. A copy of the original drawing is visible in the crypt of Santa Reparata.
You can see the complete slideshow of the move here.