These Romanesque doors that give access to the Duomo of Ravello are a rare example of an artistic creation signed in those years. It was not usual for someone who was considered a craftsman to sign his works, but instead on one of the central panels of the left side of this double door there is an inscription that is clearly read and indicates that this door was made by the master sculptureBarisano da Trani in the year 1179.
Doors of the Duomo of Ravello
By then this temple on the Italian Amalfi Coast that keeps the blood of Saint Pantaleon as a great relic had almost completed a century of life, since the temple was built between 1086 and 1087. However, the local potentate and aristocrat Sergio Muscettola wanted to commission this work and donate it to Ravello Cathedral. Of course, his name, that of his wife and that of his three children are also reflected in the inscription that Barisano da Trani carved
The truth is that the door is spectacular with its two wooden wings in which up to 80 bronze plates with various bas-reliefs are distributed. All of them are attached by nails and tacks to the wood. And the surface of each of them is different: 54 show figures, while 26 have various decorative motifs.
Given their placement system, it has been verified that the plates have been disassembled and reinstalled in anotherorder through the centuries. Although there would be an initial order that would pose a sequence that goes from the scenes and characters of the Creation, and then the human world to end with the heavenly one in which several saints, the Madonna and Jesus Christ would be identified.
The author, Barisano da Trani, was very active in the second half of the 12th century. In fact, it was also he who designed and elaborated several monumental doors and gates, such as in his hometown of Trani or for the great Cathedral of Monreale. It is thought that all of them are after his work in Ravello, which curiously is the only one that appears with a specific date of execution.
And he always used a similar system of working bronze to create reliefs through the lost wax technique. In other words, creating wax molds in negative, on which he poured and melted the bronze to leave the definitive shape for the metal, once it cooled and solidified.
This gate has been recently restored and restored to its full splendor, becoming one of the great attractions of the Duomo of Ravello.