'O Maria, la tua Siena difendi': The Porta della Riconoscenza of Siena Cathedral.
Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, 64(2) pp. 153–176.
The article examines the origins, history and significance of the bronze door - known as the 'Porta della Riconoscenza' - which embellishes the entrance to the south aisle of Siena cathedral. After noting the neglect of this monument both in scholarly and popular writing on Siena, the article first explores the origins of the door in the events of mid-June 1944, when the Sienese rededicated their city to the Virgin as the front between retreating German and advancing allied forces approached Siena. The door was a thanksgiving for the fact that Siena escaped bombardment or destruction.
The article then analyses the door in detail, paying particular attention to the four narrative scenes and associated allegorical panels which dominate the work. The article shows how each scene and allegoriacl panel refers to a particular moment in Sienese history.
The third section of the article locates the door within the long tradition of Siense civil religion, arguing that it is both a celebration of such civil religion and a modern example of it. The conclusion proposes an explanation for the previous neglect of the door and for the fact that, until now, it has chiefly been remembered in works associated with the Palio and Contrade of Siena.
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