Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455)

Lorenzo Ghiberti was born near Florence in 1378. His father was a goldsmith and taught his son everything he knew about the craft.

In 1401 Lorenzo competed with Filippo Brunelleschi, a fellow goldsmith, and others for the honor of designing and casting new bronze doors for the Florence Baptistery (Battistero di San Giovanni). He won. A disappointed Brunelleschi abandoned sculpture for future glory as an architect.

Lorenzo hired other artists and with their help produced 28 panels of sculptures in relief out of gilded bronze. Twenty of these panels depict scenes from the life of Jesus; four, the writers of the gospels; and four, early Church Fathers. The doors took 21 years to finish.

In 1425 Lorenzo received a commission to complete a second set of doors. On these he created 10 scenes inspired by the Old Testament. These took 27 years to complete. The result, however, was so striking that later Michelangelo himself would describe them as befitting the “Gate of Paradise.”

Lorenzo died December 1, 1455 and is buried in the Basilica of Santa Croce (Holy Cross) in Florence.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.