The drawing shows the left section of the west front of the Duomo of San Martino, Lucca. Seen obliquely from the right, the northernmost portal (with decoration carved by Nicola Pisano) can be seen, and two of the three storeys of arcades which decorate the facade above the ground floor. Unusually for Ruskin, a woman is shown sitting on the steps in front of the church.
Ruskin was in Lucca from late July to late August 1874, and Taylor notes that he was drawing the Duomo for three days from 28 or 29 July, and on 3, 5 and 17 August. According to Cook and Wedderburn, 'Ruskin considered it one of his best drawings'.
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