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Volto Santo di Lucca

Lucca Cathedral

The Cathedral of St Martin (Italian Duomo) is a church in Lucca, Italy. It was begun in 1063 by Bishop Anselm (later Pope Alexander II). Of this structure, the great apse with its tall columnar arcades and the fine campanile remain.

The nave and transepts having been rebuilt in the Gothic style in the 14th century, while the west front was begun in 1204 by "Guidetto" (Guido Bigarelli of Como), and consists of a vast portico of three magnificent arches, and above them three ranges of open galleries enriched with sculpture.

In the nave a little octagonal temple or chapel shrine contains the most precious relic in Lucca, the Volto Santo di Lucca or Sacred Countenance. This cedar-wood crucifix and image of Christ, according to the legend, carved by his contemporary Nicodemus, and miraculously conveyed to Lucca in 782. Christ is clothed in the colobium, a long sleeveless garment. The chapel was built in 1484 by Matteo Civitali (1436-1501), the most famous Luccan sculptor of the early Renaissance.

The tomb of Ilaria del Carretto by Jacopo della Quercia of Siena, the earliest of his extant works (1406), is an early Renaissance masterpiece.

Additionally the cathedral contains a Ghirlandaio Madonna and Child with Saints Peter, Clement, Paul and Sebastian; a Federico Zuccari Adoration of Magi, a Jacopo Tintoretto Last Supper, and finally a Fra Bartolomeo Madonna and Child (1509).

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