Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Cow's Head

Sculpture representing a cow's head, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence
Sculpture representing a cow's head, Cathedral of
Santa Maria del Fiore (Saint Mary of the Flower)
Piazza del Duomo
Florence, April 2015

“During the building of the new cathedral, sometime at the end of the thirteenth century, a baker lived, worked and sold his goods not far from this spot. The baker's wife is said to have had a long-term affair with one of the master carpenters who was working on the cathedral. Eventually, the secret lovers were discovered, accused, condemned by the ecclesiastical court, and sentenced never to see each other again. For revenge and as a sign of victory, the carpenter is said to have placed this cow's head in good view from the baker's shop as a constant reminder of the deceit, as in Italian cornuto (horned), stands for cuckolded and is as unfavorable a stigma as you can imagine. On a historical note less shrouded in legend, the cow was placed there to honor all the animals that were used to build the cathedral.”
(Cornuto, The Florentine)

1 comment:

Changes in the wind said...

That's quite a legend and will help make sense of this cow's head.