This is an article about literally magnificent mosaic floor of Siena Cathedral.  Original English text from cultura italia website with Japanese translation.

イタリア中部シエナにあるシエナ大聖堂の大理石モザイク装飾の記事です。圧倒的な存在感です。cultura italiaウェブサイトの原文と訳文です。


<Published on Sep 5, 2012 by >



The floor of the Siena Cathedral, a Renaissance jewel



The inlaid marble mosaic floor of the Cathedral, which is generally covered by a protective surface, will remain uncovered for several months: this masterpiece was put together over the course of the centuries, from the 1300s to the 1800s, and its iconography is highly complex


From 18 August to 24 October, the inlaid marble mosaic floor of the Siena Cathedral, which is usually covered by masonite slabs to protect it from trampling by visitors and worshippers (over one million each year), will be uncovered and visible to all. An itinerary called “divine beauty” has been developed to help visitors discover the mosaic floor, which Giorgio Vasari described as «the most beautiful…, greatest and most magnificent… that has ever been built». The itinerary includes the Cathedral’s apse, featuring Fra’ Giovanni da Verona’s intarsia and Domenico Beccafumi’s frescoes.


シエナのシエナ大聖堂の床のモザイク装飾が、普段は(年間100万人以上の)旅行者や参拝者が歩くので、マソナイトスラブでカバーしているが、8月18日から10月24日の期間カバーを外して一般公開される。「Divine Beauty (天上の美)」と題された特別展は、モザイク装飾の床を訪問者が見学できるように考案された。16世紀イタリアの建築家で画家のジョルジョ・ヴァザーリはこの床を、「これまでの建築物の中で最も美しく… 、偉大で荘厳だ…」と記述している。この特別展では、大聖堂の後陣と、フラ・ジョヴァンニ・ダ・ヴェローナの 象嵌細工、ドメニコ・ベッカフーミのフレスコ画を見学することができる。

The Cathedral’s mosaic floors depicts all of the main themes of Renaissance philosophy and figurative art: from classic antiquity’s She-wolf suckling Romolus and Remus, to the arcane knowledge of  Hermes Trismegistus, and from the the ten Sybils who served as oracles in various parts of the world to the philosophers Socrates, Crates, Aristotle, and Seneca. The above images are all to be found in the three naves, while the central part of the transept and the choir describe the origins of Christianity, from the history of the Jewish people to the dogma of salvation, identified with the figure of Christ. All of the subjects depicted are drawn from the Old Testament, with the exception of Matteo di Giovanni’s Massacre of the Innocents, inspired by the Gospel of Matthew.


The floor comprises 56 inlays. Some of the most magnificent scenes are to be found in the hexagon underneath the cupola, including the Stories of Elias and Achab, or the Stories of Moses located near the altar, which reflects the work of the mannerist Domenico Beccafumi, who is renowned for having perfected the technique of marble inlays to the extent that by using different gradations, he managed to obtain effects similar to the chiaroscuro of drawings.


床には56枚のモザイク画がある。最も壮大な場面は、ドーム下の六角形のモザイク画で、祭壇近くのエリヤとアカブの物語、または、モーゼの物語はマニエリスト様式の芸術家ドメニコ・ベッカフーミの作品が反映されている。ベッカフーミは、大理石モザイク装飾の技術を、さまざまなグラデーションを使うレベルにまで完成させたことで知られ、素描画のキアロスクーロ (陰影法) に近い効果を出すことができた。

The breadth, difficulty, and complexity of the iconography meant that the floor took several centuries to be completed, from the 1300s to the 1800s. According to ancient traditions, the decorations are by Duccio di Buoninsegna, a painter from Siena who died in 1318-19. In 1339 the people of Siena decided to build a new cathedral. The building, whose unfinished central nave can still be seen, was meant to incorporate the current cathedral and use it as its transept. However, the infamous Black Plague of 1347 caused work to cease suddenly, due both to static and economic problems caused by the depopulation brought about by the deadly epidemic.


In spite of the new project, the people of Siena never stopped embellishing the existing Cathedral, since it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, a figures who embodies the Christian church and the community of the faithful, and with whom the city of Siena strongly identified.


The first payments for the floor date back to about 1369. The preparatory cartoons for the stories to be depicted were prepared by renowned artists, most of whom were from Siena. Some of the best-known names from the Renaissance era include Sassetta, Domenico di Bartolo, Matteo di Giovanni, Domenico Beccafumi. The famous Pinturicchio also had a role. In 1505, this Umbria-born artist painted the Hill of Virtue, depicting the eternal struggle between Fortune and Virtue.


The first technique used to transfer the images on the cartoons to the floor was graffito, which is rather simple, since it calls for incisions to be made directly on the slabs of marble with a scalpel and a drill, then filled with stucco; the marble inlay technique is far more complicated, since it calls for coloured marble sections to be assembled much like wooden intarsia.


The artistic spectacle that appears before visitors’ eyes, after all these years, is the same described by Wagner’s wife Cosima in a diary entry written during her trip to Siena. On 21 August 1880, she wrote to her musician husband: «I arrived in Siena around 10.00… and visited the Duomo! Richard was moved to tears, he says this is the strongest impression a building has ever had on him. I would like to listen to the Parsifal prelude underneath this cupola! A moment of happiness among many worries: having shared with Richard this rapture, a feeling of gratefulness towards my destiny».

訪問者の目の前に広がる芸術的壮観は、昔、ワーグナーの妻コジマがシエナを旅行している間につけていた日記の記述とさしたる違いはない。1880年8月21日、コジマは音楽家の夫に書いている。「10時頃にシエナに到着しました。… そして大聖堂に行きました!リヒャルトは感動のあまり息を詰まらせ、これまでで建築から受けた印象の中で最も強烈だと言っています。私は、ドゥオーモの下で、パーシファル前奏曲を聞きたくなったわ。心配事ばかりの日々の中での一瞬の幸福。リヒャルトとこの歓喜を分かち合えて、私の運命に対する感謝の気持でいっぱいです。」

More photos / 写真は—> AFP