Project Description

Chapel of St. Doimus
Cathedral of St. Doimus, Split, Croatia

project 
restoration of the Chapel of St. Doimus

location
Cathedral of St. Doimus, Split, Croatia

project director
Ministry of Culture, Monuments and Fine Arts Office of Split

contractor
Sansovino s.n.c., Venice

funding
Duca e Duchessa di Segorbe;
Venetian Heritage

start date
July 2002

end date
September 2003

cost
€ 53.210,00

 

In 1427 a chapel was built and dedicated to the joint patron saint of the city, St. Doimus, to the right of the main altar in the Cathedral of Split (formerly Diocletian’s Mausoleum). Bonino da Milano erected the ciborium and funerary monument in Gothic style. The figure of the saint is represented lying on a sarcophagus decorated with bas-reliefs depicting the Madonna with Child and Saints, the tomb is roofed by a baldachin supported by three angels. The artist used local limestone to sculpt both the monument and the ciborium, which still retain much of the original polychromy. The internal vault is frescoed with the same colours used for the exterior of the chapel: blue, red, green and gold. Over the centuries the funerary monument has been moved various times and this could explain the absence of polychromy. The stone surface of the chapel was covered in a dusty layer, sometimes up to three centimetres thick, and a compact and adherent charcoal black patina. These surface layers obstructed the correct reading of the sculpture and the polychromy. The gilding and the polychromy on the ciborium were well conserved even though they were detaching from the stone support. Some acanthus leaves decorating the gable of the ciborium were cracked and had shifted under the pressure provoked by the swelling of the rusty iron braces under them that attached the ashlars of the cornice. As well as solving the aforementioned static problems, the careful restoration work uncovered the original Gothic polychromy on the façades of the chapel-ciborium, which are now highly visible.