Florence – San Lorenzo Church (Passion Pulpit)

This rather grand pulpit was designed by Donatello (1386-1466) in around 1460 and it was the last of his works, sitting near to the Resurrection Pulpit which he had also designed. It’s 2.8 metres in length and 1.37 metres in height, taking into account the height of the columns, although the marble columns were a later addition.

It’s also not entirely clear that they were built as pulpits, as they’re of a strange shape for that purpose, so they may perhaps have been designed as tombs. A suggestion that they might have been used as a choir loft has been mooted, although the choir wouldn’t exactly have had much space.

There are Biblical scenes beautifully carved around the pulpit (or whatever it is) and Donatello’s elements were in bronze. Above is the south side of the pulpit, with the left-hand panel being the Flagellation, which was a section made from burnished wood added in the seventeenth century, similar to the middle panel which is of John the Apostle.

The right-hand section on the south side is though Donatello’s work, the Oration of the Garden, showing the Mount of Olives of Gethsemane. The guide suggests that this depth of perspective is so finely carried out that it was attributed to Donatello, with Bartolomeo Bellano completing the remaining parts of the section. And I’m hardly in a position to know any better to dispute that…..