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This video on the facade of Orvieto Cathedral is aimed at making people aware of an extraordinarily valuable asset: Maitani is largely known as the architect of Orvieto Cathedral, but he was also the sculptor. We know that he made the four huge bronzes that project from the upper layer of the cathedral.

Previous observers believed that he did only the first 2 or 3 of the carved reliefs of the creation of Adam. This video seeks to persuade you that heal so designed the whole facade, which was then carved by his assistants working in marble that has weathered remarkably well.

The facade is 112 square metres of relief work. It is impossible that one person could have carved it all in the period of 31 years we know Maitani spent on the site. The video demonstrates how he might have accurately passed to his assistants the entire design block by block; furthermore, the work is of the greatest importance to the early maturing of Sienes art. The first panels were in place by 1307. Maitani therefore predates Duccio’s Maesta by around 7 or 8 years and exhibits much of the humanity but with greater sophistication than we find in Duccio. He even exhibits humour, a rare ingredient of the period. Orvieto was Sienese territory at the time and Maitani was Sienese.

The whole work should be preserved by taking moulds from what now exists, which is in remarkable condition. But with the speed with which traffic and weather can damage marble this important work may be at risk.