Duomo_ScenicsSculps_Interiors

Scenic shots of the Florence Cathedral, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo),
along with detail images of sculptures on and near the facade and some church interiors.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Florence Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

Direct Link to the Gallery with images of Santa Maria del Fiore

Florentine Churches: The Duomo

There are a number of images in this section that are not yet on the Photoshelter site.
If an image you want is not yet uploaded, contact Ron Reznick (info at bottom of page).

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There are 11 Galleries in the Photoshelter Florence Collection

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Architectural Scenics

The Duomo

Giotto Campanile
 

Brunelleschi Dome

Sculptures

Duomo Interiors
 

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Architectural Scenics

On the Architectural Details page are close shots of the portals, lunettes, pediments and mosaics of
the 14th and 19th century facades of Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo, or Cathedral of Florence).
This page will show shots from further back in the piazza, along with detail shots of some of the
sculptures. There will also be images detailing Brunelleschi’s Dome and a few images of
Giotto’s Campanile (there is also a separate page dedicated to Giotto’s Campanile).

I will provide some information supporting the images as well, but as I have carefully detailed the facade
on the Architectural Details page, here I will only provide detailed information for the Dome and sculptures.

At the bottom of the page are some images of the interior of Santa Maria del Fiore. The interior is rather stark,
 especially in comparison to the extremely ornate facade, but there are elements of interest including a very
unique Liturgical Clock with paintings by Paolo Uccello, one of few of its type remaining in existence.

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DuomoFlorence_5930


Duomo Florence 5930

The 19th century Facade, just before sunrise on the only clear morning when I was in Florence.
The facade is highly detailed, as you can see, and the linked versions of these images are fairly
large files as a result. The typical image linked from this page ranges from 400 KB to 700 KB.
Below the titles of some of the larger images, I will list the pixel dimensions and file sizes.
 

Designed by Arnolfo di Cambio in 1294 to be the largest Catholic church in the world,
Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Saint Mary of the Flower) is the Cathedral Church (Duomo)
of Florence. The “Flower” refers to the Lily, symbol of Florence. The church is known for the Dome
designed and built by Filippo Brunelleschi, the largest dome ever built at the time (it is even now the
largest masonry dome in the world) and the largest dome ever built without scaffolding or buttresses.
Brunelleschi designed and built innovative hoists and cranes to move 37,000 tons of stone and brick
over 200 feet in the air and place it with extreme precision. The masonry double dome used some of
the first iron reinforcements, predating iron and steel structural reinforcements by hundreds of years.

These innovations, along with his brilliant masonry techniques, are part of the reason why
Filippo Brunelleschi is considered to be one of the fathers of Renaissance architecture.

Duomo_RoseWindow_Apostles_4014


Duomo Rose Window Apostles 4014

Detail of the central upper section of the 19th c. facade, showing the Rose Window, the central
statue of Mary, and eight of the 12 statues of Apostles. Note the difference between the Rose Window
and the smaller Rosette Windows above the portals, detailed in several of the images shown below.
The image below shows both the Rose Window and the Rosette Window above the right portal.

Duomo_Florence_4007


Duomo Florence 4007

Baptistry_Duomo_Florence_4007c


Duomo Florence 4007c
960 x 1290 (557 KB)

A detail crop of the image shown to the left.
Shot from the entrance to the Piazza San Giovanni,
these images show the spatial relationships between
the Baptistry (left), the Duomo, and the Dome.

Duomo_Campanile_Florence_4008


Duomo Campanile Florence 4008
795 x 1290 (509 KB)

Duomo_Campanile_Florence_4008cM


Duomo Campanile Florence 4008c M
1112 x 1500 (723 KB)

A large detail crop allowing close examination of the
mullioned windows (a structural pillar divides the window)
and the masonry structure of Brunelleschi’s Dome.

Duomo_Campanile_Florence_4008detail


Duomo Campanile Florence 4008 detail
1465 x 1290 (728 KB)

Another large detail crop. Nobody said I couldn’t provide some architectural detail on this page too.
Note the objects poking out of the structure of the Dome between the marble and the tiles. These are
the ends of the tie-beams to the stone-and-iron chains which were Brunelleschi’s solution to the stress
problem which could have collapsed his non-buttressed dome (barrel stress). Information is further below.

The fellow standing inside the mullioned window of the Campanile provides scale.

The Duomo

FlorentineDuomo_Detail_UpperFacade_5981M


Florentine Duomo Detail Upper Facade 5981M
1000 x 1575 (550 KB)

This image was taken just after sunrise on the only clear morning when I was in Florence.
Below is an image taken as the sun hit the building. The streets are quite narrow in Florence,
and the normal “Golden Hour” is more like a “Golden Minute”. To catch the light you have to be in
the right place at exactly the right time, so on my way to catch the sun hitting the Campanile during
the elusive “Golden Minute”, I caught a few shots of the Duomo (see the image at the top of the page).
Then I went over to catch the Campanile in the south part of the Piazza del Duomo (images below).
 While the sun was in that golden minute for the Baptistry, I scooted over to get a few shots of
the South Door sculptures (“The Beheading of St. John the Baptist” by Vincenzo Danti,
see the Baptistry page). Then, I scooted back to get the shot of the Duomo below
as the sun was perfect. Then serendipity struck, and a ray of golden sunlight
bounced off of a cloud and hit the Danti sculptures on the Baptistry, so I
ran over to get that beautifully lit scene. Then the golden light was gone
and I came back to the Duomo to get this shot. Total time:  2 minutes
between the golden light on the image below and the light you see here.

DuomoAM_5969


Duomo AM 5969
1011 x 1290 (500 KB)

Perfect light during the elusive “Golden Minute” in the narrow streets of Florence
illuminates the South walls of the Duomo and bounces off the Baptistry to light the face.
This light lasted all of 10 seconds, changing every second. I took several, this was the best shot.
I literally ran from the other side of the Campanile after getting that shot to get this one.

Detailed information describing all of the architectural characters and
objects on the facade is available on the Architectural Details page.

Campanile_5932


Campanile 5932

Giotto Campanile
(Bell Tower)

Giotto di Bondone succeeded Arnolfo di Cambio
(the first Master of the Cathedral Works) upon his
death in 1334, and as the famous painter and architect
was 67 years old, he concentrated his energy on the
Campanile. He created a design that became
a showpiece of Florentine Gothic style.

The Bell Tower was designed by Giotto to match the polychrome marble of the Cathedral designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, and is a  masterly display of his architectural skills. It is covered with  colored marble in geometric designs that make it appear to be painted. Giotto completed the lower story with its external marble before he died. He is considered to be one of the founding fathers of Italian Renaissance Architecture (along with Brunelleschi and Leono Alberti).

This image was taken while I was waiting for the previously mentioned “Golden Minute”. I was leaving Florence in an hour, and found myself with my only clear morning in Florence.

I scooted out of the hotel early, determined to get a perfect shot of the Campanile (and I would try to get a few other good shots by running around the piazza like a chicken with my head cut off during the minute or so that the light was sweet).

While I wanted some shots of the Duomo
(and maybe the Baptistry’s South Door sculptures),
I was bound and determined to get the Campanile shot,
so I camped out here for the last 15 minutes before the
light got perfect to make sure I didn’t miss the moment.
It really is only a minute or so in these narrow streets.

Below: the beginning of “Golden Minute”.

Campanile_5953M


Campanile 5953M
909 x 1500 (516 KB)

The light got even better than this 1 minute later.
I’ve put two images from the ultimate minute of glory
on the Campanile page (5959, no watermark, and 5963).

You had to know that I was going to use the images on this page as a teaser...

GiottoCampanile_BrunelleschiDome_4736_90XL


Giotto Campanile Brunelleschi Dome 4736 4790 XL
1548 x 1200 (600 KB)

Composite will open in a second window.

Available as an XL Composite (3000 x 2325)

The composite image above shows a much more typical view of the Campanile while I was in Florence.
 One day, it was raining and dark... I found that taking interior shots was impossible, so I decided to climb
the Bell Tower for some elevated shots. The image of the dome in this composite and the images
below were taken from the top of the Campanile. It looks like there was much more light than
there actually was, because I pushed the exposures both in-camera and in processing.
For the photographers, the shot of the dome above was 1/30 sec. at f/8, handheld.
Below is the image of the dome by itself (they are available separately too).

BrunelleschiDome_4790


Brunelleschi Dome 4790
946 x 1290 (535 KB)

Brunelleschi’s dome was inspired by the Dome of the Pantheon in Rome. The dome is built from
stone and brick because the formula for concrete was lost in antiquity. He built it as a double-dome,
with the interior resting on the drum using no other supports (no buttresses or scaffolding were used).

Brunelleschi invented several ingenious hoists. The oxen-driven windlass that raised the stone
ribs and the 4 million bricks was switch-geared so the direction could be changed without the
oxen having to be unhitched, saving hours each day. It was the first octagonal dome in history
to be built without a wooden supporting frame and was the largest dome built at the time (it
is still the largest masonry dome on earth). View from the Campanile’s upper window.

BrunelleschiDome_4806


Brunelleschi Dome 4806
1500 x 1065 (690 KB)

The Southeast view past the Brunelleschi Dome towards Santa Croce (top right).

Considered to be the Father of Renaissance Architecture, Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446)
was the inventor of linear perspective (a method of depicting on paper what is seen by the eye,
using geometric mathematics to determine the ratios, and using foreshortening). Giotto addressed
the perspective issue using an algebraic method, 100 years before Brunelleschi, but it wasn’t until the
Renaissance artists Lorenzo Ghiberti (see the Baptistry page) and Brunelleschi that geometric methods
were applied. Brunelleschi demonstrated the effect with a painting of the Baptistry and a mirror, and after
that, his geometric methods were used by every artist in Florence and Italy. He also developed complex
theatrical machinery for special effects in church theatrics, which helped him to design the machinery
required to lift the enormous weights involved in the building of the Dome. He designed fortifications,
hydraulic machinery, clocks, and some of the seminal buildings and spaces of the Renaissance.

BrunelleschiDome_4806c


Brunelleschi Dome 4806c
900 x 1290 (651 KB)

After 100 years of construction, the Cathedral was essentially finished... except for the dome.
The plans called for a traditional dome without the Gothic buttresses in use elsewhere in Europe.
This decision was one of the first in Renaissance architecture. The problem was that nobody knew
how to solve the stress problems that cause spreading, and there was not enough timber in all of
Tuscany to create the scaffolding and forms required to build the Dome. Brunelleschi decided
to follow the style of the Pantheon Dome in Rome, but the formula for concrete had been
forgotten over the intervening years since the fall of the Roman Empire, so he decided
to build the Dome out of bricks with no support structure used during construction.

BrunelleschiDome_4803M


Brunelleschi Dome 4803M
1418 x 1550 (707 KB)

Brunelleschi’s Dome and the smaller Transept Dome (bottom right).

The holes in the dome, which now let in light and ventilation, were originally
used to anchor the scaffolding that workers stood on while building the dome.

To solve the spreading problem, Brunelleschi build internal stone and iron chains,
rigid octagons (the Dome is an octagon, not round), two placed at the top and bottom
of the Dome and two evenly spaced in between the upper and lower chains. The cross-ties
of the bottom chain are what can be seen protruding from the drum in these images (look above
the round windows and marble facing). The stone ribs at the corners of the octagon were raised
along with the brickwork, and each rib section has slits which supported platforms that acted
as scaffolding. As the dome was an octagon, the bricks could not be supported in place
while the mortar was wet (although when dry, the bricks would act as a horizontal arch
to support the dome). To get around this, Brunelleschi used a herringbone pattern.

Detail_Transept_DuomoFlorence_4831


Detail Transept Duomo Florence 4831

The small transept dome below Brunelleschi’s Dome in the images above
is supported by the structure you see here. This dome does use buttressing.

Brunelleschi_4294


Brunelleschi 4294

Brunelleschi_4296


Brunelleschi 4296

The statue of Brunelleschi sits below the Dome,
occupying a niche in the Palazzo dei Canonici.
Brunelleschi stares up at his greatest creation.
Sculpted in 1834 by Luigi Pampaloni.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Florence Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

Direct Link to the Gallery with images of Santa Maria del Fiore

Florentine Churches: The Duomo

There are a number of images in this section that are not yet on the Photoshelter site.
If an image you want is not yet uploaded, contact Ron Reznick (info at bottom of page).

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 11 Galleries in the Photoshelter Florence Collection

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Sculptures

Plaque_Opera_Workshop_4306


Plaque Opera Workshop 4306

A block from the Piazza del Duomo, behind Palazzo dei Canonici and across from Pierozzi Tower is
the workshop for the Opera del Duomo, where sculptors who once created the statuary for the Cathedral
now work to maintain and conserve the sculptures. They also create copies of the 13th and 14th century
sculptures on the older parts of the facade to replace the existing sculptures, which are then moved
into the Museum. They use many of the same tools as their Renaissance counterparts, along with
 modern power tools. This plaque is beside the door (no, they are not about to brain a child).
This is a copy of the predella (frieze or painting at the foot of a tabernacle, altar, etc.) for
Nanni di Banco’s most famous work: the Quattro Santi Coronati at Orsanmichele.

Bust_StAntoninus_4317


Bust St. Antoninus 4317

Directly across the (tiny) street from the workshop is
Torre dei Pierozzi, the ancient home of St. Antoninus,
(1389-1459) marked above the door with this bust.

St. Antoninus (Antonio Pierozzi, Archbishop of Florence)
was a gentle man of great humility who provided for the
sick and needy, especially during the plague years of
1448 and 1449, the earthquake which followed in 1453,
the cyclone in 1456, and the famine which followed.
These were very difficult years, and “Little Anthony”
supported the people in every way possible.

At right is the niche sculpture in a tabernacle on
the facade of Santa Maria del Fiore (right portal).

StAntoninus_4044


St. Antoninus 4044

PopeEugeniusIV_4041


Pope Eugenius IV 4041

The statue of Pope Eugenius IV (1383-1447),
who supported Florence against Milan and who was
also responsible for breaking the power of the Concilar
movement. Eugenius consecrated the Cathedral in 1436.

The statue of Eugenius IV is to the left
of the right portal of Santa Maria del Fiore
(on the opposite side from St. Antoninus).

AugustineTinacci_Duomo_4048


Augustine Tinacci Duomo 4048

On the right side of the left portal is this statue of
Bishop Augustine Tinacci, who blessed the first pilaster
in 1357. Note the statue in the background (detail below).

AugustineTinacci_Detail_4048c


Augustine Tinacci Detail 4048c

The bare-breasted lady in the sheepskin with the snake at her feet is a representation of Eve.
Also, note the angel with a vase at the base of Bishop Tinacci’s tabernacle. Why the vase, I wonder?

Nun_DuomoDoor_4243


Nun Duomo Door 4243

While I was taking detail shots of the Porta Maggiore, an
accommodating nun walked by to add sparkle to the shot.
The following shots will show detail of the spiral decorative
columns and the ornamentation surrounding the statues of
St. Reparata and St. Zenobius, Patron Saints of Florence.

MainPortal_StReparata_4272


Main Portal St. Reparata 4272

Detail of St. Reparata beside the bronze doors
of the Porta Maggiore, sculpted by Amalia Dupre.

StReparata_4049


St. Reparata 4049
1084 x 1380 (574 KB)

The extremely ornate marble work surrounding St. Reparata.
Note the repaired sections on both sides of the top of the tabernacle.

St. Reparata was a possibly mythical 3rd century martyr and virgin who, according
to the legend, was arrested for her faith and tortured during the persecution of Decius.
Tossed into a furnace at age 11, she was unharmed, but was beheaded after emerging and
refusing to renounce her faith. The legend states that her spirit emerged from her body as a dove.

Her cult was widespread in Europe during the Middle Ages, and extremely popular in Florence,
where she was the Patron Saint until the Cathedral was built starting in 1296, when she
was temporarily replaced by the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist. She was
later reinstated as co-patroness along with St. Zenobius, whose statue
stands on the opposite side of the main portal from St. Reparata.

The Cathedral was built around the old church of Santa Reparata, which
 was built by the early 5th c. in the Christian cult center in the north of Florence that
existed since the third century. There were six excavations between 1965 and 1974 that
unearthed the remains of the old church and evidence of the early Christian age in Florence.

StReparata_4052


St. Reparata 4052

During the construction of Santa Maria del Fiore,
the old church of Santa Reparata kept operating for
nearly 80 years until 1375, when it was demolished
so that the new church nave could be completed.

StZenobius_4053


St. Zenobius 4053

St. Zenobius (337-417) was the first Bishop of Florence.
A legend states that a child run over by a cart was brought
to Zenobius, who restored the child to life (one of many he
is said to have resurrected, along with a dead elm tree).

StReparata_StZenobius_4052_53


St. Reparata St. Zenobius 4052 4053
1500 x 1131 (639 KB)

Composite will open in a second window.

Available as an XL Composite (3268 x 2464)

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Florence Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

Direct Link to the Gallery with images of Santa Maria del Fiore

Florentine Churches: The Duomo

There are a number of images in this section that are not yet on the Photoshelter site.
If an image you want is not yet uploaded, contact Ron Reznick (info at bottom of page).

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 11 Galleries in the Photoshelter Florence Collection

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Duomo Interiors

The vast interior of the church was rather dark when I was there, due to the heavily
overcast weather reducing the outside light entering the church windows. For those
who are photographers, these images were shot between 1/30 and 1/50 sec. at f/1.4,
and were underexposed 1.67 stops to achieve the exposure times as all were handheld.
The forced underexposure made processing the images difficult, requiring my best technique.

Considering the facade, the interior of  the Cathedral is stark and barren.
This is supposed to correspond with the austerity of the religious life.

Duomo_interior_4078


Duomo interior 4078

Two views down the nave to the altar, taken on
different days. It was very dark for this shot, and I
underexposed the shot by 1.67 stops to try to get a
shutter speed that I could count on, thus it is a bit noisy.
The next shot was taken on a day when there was some
light hitting the floor, built with marble from the facade.

Duomo_interior_4891


Duomo interior 4891

It was not much brighter for this shot, but rather than
risk another noisy image (obscuring the floor), I went
for a handheld 1/40 sec. shot. For those who have tried
long handheld exposures, you know those can be difficult.

Duomo_interior_4891c


Duomo interior 4891c

A 960 x 1200 (342 KB) detail crop from the previous image, showing the pink and red
Rosa Perlino marbles used to make the floor (some of the marble from the 14th c. facade
 was used to create the floor). That facade can be seen on the Architectural Details page.
The floor was created in 1520-26 by Baccio d’Agnolo and Francesco da Sangallo, who
 used the facing marble topside down for the floor, as was discovered when the floor
had to be restored after the 1966 Arno floods (which devastated Santa Croce).

The Cathedral has 44 stained glass windows by some of the finest artists of the Renaissance.
The one above the arch in the center of the images shown next is by Donatello, and there is a
detail crop shown later of the window over the main portal “Christ Crowning Mary as Queen”,
which was designed by Gaddo Gaddi in the early 14th century. The stained glass project
for the Duomo was the largest project of its kind in Italy in the 14th and 15th centuries.

The enormous crucifix at the altar is by Benedetto da Maiano (1495-97).

Duomo_interior_4882


Duomo interior 4882

The view into the drum supporting the dome, the arch
framing the altar and the lower part of the frescoed dome.

Duomo_interior_4886


Duomo interior 4886

Duomo_Frescoes_4886c


Duomo Frescoes 4886c
1500 x 1092 (500 KB)

A detail crop of the fresco framed by the arch.

The dome frescoes were started from the top by Giorgio Vasari in 1568.
Vasari worked in true fresco (wet plaster) until his death in 1574, then his
assistant Federico Zuccari took over, with Domenico Cresti and other
assistants. While this is considered to be Zuccari’s finest work, the
quality of the frescoes is uneven, due to the number of different
artists involved and the technique used. Zuccari and Cresti
worked a secco (dry, moistened plaster), and while this
allowed the artists to touch up their work, it tends to flake
off over time and requires restoration, plus colors are not
 as vibrant as paintings created in buon fresco (true fresco).

Below, the view back down the nave towards the main portal
of one of the few Liturgical Clocks still in existence, along with
two works of art by Gaddo Gaddi and paintings by Santi di Tito.

Duomo_interior_4075


Duomo interior 4075

Gaddo Gaddi’s early 14th c. stained glass window, a
unique Liturgical Clock, Gaddo Gaddi’s 1307 Coronation
mosaic, and Santi di Tito’s Music-Making Angels (1570s).

PaoloUccelloClock_4880


Paolo Uccello Clock 4880

PaoloUccelloClock_4880c


Paolo Uccello Clock 4880c
938 x 1290 detail crop

Over the door is this truly enormous 24-hour clock with a single hand. It was made in 1443
and was painted with four frescoes of Prophets by Paolo Uccello. It is a liturgical clock, which
calculates the 24 hours from Sunset the previous day, a timetable called hora italica (Italian time)
which was used until the 18th century.  This is one of the few clocks still in existence and in working
order from that time, and one of the very few liturgical clocks. Below the clock is a mosaic by
Gaddo Gaddi (father of Taddeo Gaddi) “Coronation of the Virgin”, dated 1307. It is one
of the very few works of his which survive. The frescoes beside the mosaic were
painted by Santi di Tito and depict “Music-making Angels” (1570s).

A detail crop of the stained glass window designed by Gaddo Gaddi is below,
followed by a large, detailed image of the Uccello Clock and Gaddo Gaddi’s mosaic..

StainedGlass_Mary_4880c


Stained Glass Mary 4880c
(no linked image)

Yes... I know it’s a little noisy. Did I mention that it was quite dark in the church?

Gaddo Gaddi was an early Renaissance painter and mosaicist. A close friend of Cimabue,
he imbued his work with a style that was effusively praised by Vasari in his writings on Gaddi’s life.
He studied Classical Greek art and applied some of this style to his work. His mosaic below the clock
was considered by the masters at the time of its completion to be the most beautiful mosaic in Italy.
He created the design for this stained glass window (I cannot discover who executed it).

Gaddo Gaddi was the father of Taddeo Gaddi, the most talented pupil of Giotto.
Taddeo painted frescoes in the Basilica of Santa Croce and is also credited with the
design and construction of the Ponte Vecchio (although this is disputed by scholars).

PaoloUccelloClock_4894


Paolo Uccello Clock 4894
1500 x 1290 (470 KB)

Detail of the Liturgical Clock with paintings by Paolo Uccello (1443),
Gaddo Gaddi’s mosaic “Coronation of the Virgin”, dated 1307, and
Santi di Tito’s “Music-making Angels”, created in the 1570s.

I have taken a large number of shots in dark museums (where you must handhold,
the exposure times can be very long, and only the very best results are acceptable).
This 1/30 second handheld shot (taken wide open at f/1.4) was extremely challenging.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Florence Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

Direct Link to the Gallery with images of Santa Maria del Fiore

Florentine Churches: The Duomo

There are a number of images in this section that are not yet on the Photoshelter site.
If an image you want is not yet uploaded, contact Ron Reznick (info at bottom of page).

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There are 11 Galleries in the Photoshelter Florence Collection

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