In many occasions people tend to miss out on the exquisite works of art that adorn our cities. Sure, people tend to glance and be amazed sometimes at the most famous works of art, and architecture, but they do not understand why the creator of such work decided to paint the portrait that way, or sculpture an image a specific way, or construct a building with certain attention to details. In the following pages, I will discuss my experience visiting the Duomo di Milano, in Italy. I will discuss how the cathedral connects with its historical context. Furthermore, I will discuss the ideas and values the cathedral evokes. Finally I will discuss how the cathedral is similar or different to other cathedrals built around the same time period.
The Duomo di Milano cathedral has been dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente. The current Archbishop of the cathedral is Cardinal Angelo Scola. “The Duomo di Milano or the Milan Cathedral is the fourth largest cathedral in the world and the largest in Italy. It took more than six centuries to complete construction of the building, largely because new additions were constantly being added to the site” (ReReDos, 2012, para. 2). When the construction began, the original plans were to construct the cathedral in Lombard Gothic style with bricks. They hired a chief engineer who decided to add the Rayonnant Gothic style used mainly in France. This construction consisted of brick paneled with marble. Due to the many years of construction and the many architects involved, the Duomi di Milano is considered a masterpiece. A masterpiece is defined as “a work done with extraordinary skill; especially: a supreme intellectual or artistic achievement” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2012 para.1).
The construction of the Duomo di Milano began during the Renaissance period. The renaissance is also known as a time of re-birth. “The Renaissance marks the passing of European society from an exclusively religious orientation to a more secular one and from an age of unquestioning faith and mysticism to one of belief in reason and scientific inquiry” (NVCC.edu, 2012, para. 4). The beginning of this type of constructions was also due to the problems related to the Romanesque construction regularly used for cathedrals. “Several problems developed with Romanesque style church.
The major problem was that they easily fell down as builder tried to make them larger” (Cathedralquest.com. 2012, para. 2). The name Gothic comes from the Goths who would invade Italy. The irony is that despite given the name Gothic due to considering the tall buttresses ugly, the Duomo di Milano is actually very astonishing and breath-taking. There are four elements particular to Gothic construction which makes the difference between these types of cathedrals to others. “These four elements – pointed arches, vaulted ceilings, flying buttresses and stained glass windows offered innumerable possibilities”(Cathedralquest.com, 2012, para. 8).
Ideas and Values of the Duomo di Milano
The cathedral evokes a sense of wow. The bigger the cathedral the more exciting and breath taking it is. There is much added to the construction of such cathedral such as the arches with great details, the tall doors with highly stylized designs, and much more. There is definitely a sense of wonder and holiness. The fact that the cathedral is in the center of the city implies the importance of religion. Thus, religion has been a main important aspect of culture for centuries. All the people involved in the construction of this cathedral, including Napoleon Bonaparte, made it clear that religion plays an important role.
Most of the construction right before this period was mainly religious and plainer. Medieval style cathedrals do not have many stained glass windows, nor buttresses. The renaissance gave architects the freedom to experiment with construction, thus being able to create such beautiful gothic elements, making the Duomo di Milano one of the most visited cathedrals in the world. Duomo di Milano and Other Cathedrals
Many of the cathedrals constructed around the same time the Duomo was built have tall buttresses and towers and exceptional detail put in the sculptures that adorn the building. Some cathedrals have more light in the cathedral compared to the Duomo di Milano which is very dark inside. Some of the cathedrals also contain works of arts and amazing altars. While they have some differences many of them are very similar, but the Duomo di Milano due to the many people involved in its construction and the many years it took to built due to lack of money, has impeccable history and style that surpasses that of the other cathedrals constructed around the same time period.
In summary, there are many sculptures, cathedrals, and work of art that not only shows the viewer the ideas the artist wanted to convey, but it also depicts a lot of the history around the time they were made. The Duomo di Milano took my breath away. It is definitely different seeing it in person than on pictures. Its high arches, buttresses, work of art inside, stained glass and the size of the doors are just impressive. Many years of history are embedded in this masterpiece whose construction began during the renaissance, and involves many architects and their ideas and also the ideas of the leaders such as Napoleon Bonaparte.
The gothic cathedral evokes the feelings of Italians and the history of the Goth invaders. Thus, the name gothic was chosen because it described something ugly. Little did they know that the Duomo di Milano is one of the most famous cathedrals in the world due to its impressive architecture and history. Even though other cathedrals were constructed during the time Duomo di Milano and they have many similarities. None of the cathedrals are the same; they all have their own art and history to tell.
Cathedralquest.com (2012). Gothic Architecture. Retrieved on October 11, 2012, from
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (2012). Masterpiece. Retrieved on October 11, 2012, from
NVCC.edu (2012). Renaissance Period. Retrieved on October 11, 2012, from,
http://www.nvcc.edu/home/jwulff/mus103/renaissance_period.htm ReReDos (2012). Duomo di Milano (Milan, Italy). Retrieved on October 11, 2012, from