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27 June Jun 2017 1142 29 days ago

The Peducci of the Duomo di Milano: curious expressions of creativity

A chronicle, somewhere between reality and legend, carved into the Cathedral's marble

Lost, camouflaged, and at times concealed amidst the infinite details of the Duomo di Milano's Candoglia marble decorations, are the peducci.

With the strangest and most unexpected shapes, the peducci are architectural elements which previously performed the static function of providing a shelf of support to the springer of the superior trefoil arch. In the Duomo di Milano the 746 peducci assume more sculpted and decorative characteristics than the cornice itself.

The variety of shapes make them the perfect sculptural objects, incorporating a degree of imagination that goes far beyond their importance as architectural elements.They portray animals, flowers, fruits, heads and masks, fantastical creatures, and symbolic themes such as vices and virtues, as well as actual historical figures that lived through the centuries and up to the present day and objects which identify periods of evolution and important traditions: for example, athletic activities represented by tennis rackets, boxing gloves, crampons, and sailing ropes.

The sculptors, dating back to the 15th century, wished to record for posterity the images of their society, with its myths, fears, and ideals:the true-life-nature of certain portraits for instance, shows that the artists did not use merely their imaginations but rather represented or mocked a friend or enemy, the page or a commonerA chronicle of the society and of the artists, carved into the stone and marble of the monument; a symbol not only of the city of Milan and its transformations, but above all of the people and masters who sculpted it over the past 630 years.