Sunday, September 9, 2012

Orvieto's Duomo

Last week’s photo was of a modern building with polka dots. This week, let's visit the Duomo in Orvieto, Italy. This cathedral, begun in 1290, was a 300-year-long undertaking. Is it possible to NOT think of zebras when viewing the side of the Duomo for the first time? White travertine and dark gray basalt stripes curve around columns and converge in dizzying ways. Our modern eyes are so used to architectural minimalism with its severe swaths of unadorned concrete and glass. We tend to associate ornamentation with fussiness, but the Duomo is crisp and bold. Let's call it (with apologies to Robert Hughes) the shock of the old. If you would like to view my posting about the Duomo's magnificent golden facade, go to