Texts by Alfredo Bianchi, Mario Mazza
2005 / 228 PAGES.
An iconographic atlas that allows the reader to admire the wonders of the cathedral of Parma in all its detail and to explore the various aspects regarding art, liturgy, history and devotion.
The history of the Parma Cathedral is almost millennial: it was begun in mid-year 1000 and consecrated in 1106. Probably destroyed a few decades later, its rebuilding began in 1130. It then underwent numerous architectural changes over the centuries.
The volume traces the events through a wealth of iconography. We begin with the Romanesque, with lions at the base of columns and the exterior façade, with its flamboyant anthology of sculptures that joins the cathedral to the Baptistery: telamons, monsters chasing one another amid leafy racemes in the blind arches of the apses, biblical and apocalyptic themes in the capitals above the pilasters; and then the interior. In the central aisle are striking frescoes by Lattanzio Gambara (walls and counter-façade) and Girolamo Mazzola Bedoli, whose vault decoration vault shows a compositional exuberance with influences from the legacy of Giulio Romano and Parmigianino. Then come the side aisles and chapels, culminating with Correggio's wonderful fresco in the dome, which for centuries, with its tangle of moving bodies, has enchanted and inspired an almost stunned awe in visitors.