Lorenzo Ghiberti

Lorenzo Ghiberti (Italian: [loˈrɛntso ɡiˈbɛrti]; 1378 – 1 December 1455), born Lorenzo di Bartolo, was a Florentine Italian artist of the Early Renaissance best known as the creator of the bronze doors of the Florence Baptistery, called by Michelangelo the Gates of Paradise. Trained as a goldsmith and sculptor, he established an important workshop for sculpture in metal. His book of Commentarii contains important writing on art, as well as what may be the earliest surviving autobiography by any artist.

Lorenzo Ghiberti
Lorenzo Ghiberti on Gates of Paradise, modern copy Florence Baptistery
Lorenzo di Bartolo

Known forSculpture
Notable work
Gates of Paradise, Florence Baptistery
MovementEarly Renaissance

Early life

Ghiberti was born in the year 1378, in Pelago, a Comune 20 km from Florence.[1] It is said that Lorenzo was the son of Cione di Ser Buonaccorso Ghiberti and Fiore Ghiberti.[1] However, there is some doubt if Cione was Ghiberti's actual father. At some point in their marriage, Fiore went to Florence and lived with a goldsmith by the name of Bartolo di Michele.[1] Fiore and Bartolo maintained a common law marriage, so it is unknown who Ghiberti's biological father is. There is no documentation of Ciones death, but it is known that after his passing Fiore and Bartolo got married in 1406.[1] Regardless, Bartolo was the only father Lorenzo knew and they possessed a close and loving relationship.[1] Bartolo was a clever and popular goldsmith in Florence, and trained Lorenzo in his trade. It was from this apprenticeship that Lorenzo learned the first principles of design.[1] Lorenzo was interested in many forms of art and did not just confine himself to gold-working. He delighted in modeling copies of antique medals and also in painting.[1] Lorenzo received formal training as a painter from Gherardo Starnina, an Italian artist from Florence.[1] He then went to work in the Florence workshop of Bartolo di Michele, where Antonio del Pollaiolo also worked.[2] When the bubonic plague struck Florence in 1400, Ghiberti emigrated to Rimini. In Rimini he was fortunate enough to receive employment in the palace of Carlo Malatesta for the Lord of Pesaro, where he assisted in the completion of wall frescoes of the castle of Carlo I Malatesta.[1] At the palace Ghiberti was given a room to paint in, and he spent much of his time here. It is believed that this is where he gained his deep love for the art of painting.[1] However, shortly after his arrival he received word from his friends back in Florence that the governors of the Baptistery were holding a competition and sending for masters who were skilled in bronze working.[1] Despite his great appreciation for painting, Ghiberti asked for leave from Malatesta. In 1401 he headed back to his hometown of Florence to participate in a competition that was being held for the commission to make a pair of bronze doors for the Baptistery of the Cathedral of Florence.[1]

Florence Baptistery doors

Florença - Portões do Paraíso (146)
Gates of Paradise.

Ghiberti's career was dominated by his two successive commissions for pairs of bronze doors to the Florence Baptistery (Battistero di San Giovanni). They are recognized as a major masterpiece of the Early Renaissance, and were famous and influential from their unveiling. Ghiberti first became famous when as a 21-year-old he won the 1401 competition for the first set of bronze doors, with Brunelleschi as the runner up. The original plan was for the doors to depict scenes from the Old Testament, but the plan was changed to depict scenes from the New Testament instead. However, the trial piece made was of the sacrifice of Isaac and still survives.
To carry out this commission, he set up a large workshop in which many artists trained, including Donatello, Masolino, Michelozzo, Uccello, and Antonio Pollaiuolo. When his first set of twenty-eight panels was complete, Ghiberti was commissioned to produce a second set for another doorway in the church, this time with scenes from the Old Testament, as originally intended for his first set. Instead of twenty-eight scenes, he produced ten rectangular scenes in a completely different style. These were more naturalistic, with perspective and a greater idealization of the subject. Dubbed "The Gates of Paradise" by Michelangelo, this second set remains a major monument of the age of Renaissance humanism.
The Gates of Paradise had 10 panels with biblical stories inscribed with 10 stories portrayed on each of them. The list below shows where each story is placed on the Gates of Paradise

Florence Baptistery Door Copy - Harris Museum
Doors of Paradise Panels (In Order)
Adam & Eve Joseph
Cain & Abel Moses
Noah Joshua
Abraham David
Issac & Jacob Solomon

Gates of Paradise panels

The Story of Adam and Eve (Panel)


In the beginning, God created the Universe. Shown on the top of the picture. When he created the universe, he created “The Garden of Eden”. This is where he created the first humans Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve are eating an apple from the forbidden tree. Eve was tricked by Lucifer, God's fallen angel, the serpent from being told she would be like God if she ate the forbidden fruit. Shown on left middle side. Lucifer, his most beautiful angel, became a fallen angel and the devil. Shown on the bottom left

The Story of Cain and Abel (Panel)
Cain and Abel were the sons of Adam, the first man. Abel was younger than Cain. Out of jealousy, Cain was enraged with God preferring Abel's sacrifice over his. Shown at the top of the photo. Abel was known to be peaceful and is sitting peacefully with the herd. Shown on the middle left side. Cain tricks Abel to follow him and murders him. Shown on the bottom.

The Story of Noah (Panel)
God did not like how the world was full of violence. He told Noah he was going to destroy the earth with a flood and that he needed to build an Ark. Shown by the waves in the photo. He was told to bring two of each kind of animal and his family. Shown on the left, right, and on the middle area. There is a Moses laying next to a barrel signifying the drunks. Shown on the bottom left. There is Moses offering a sacrifice. Shown on the bottom right.

The Story of Abraham (Panel)

Abraham (Gates of Paradise) 01

Three men came to Abraham. He clothed them, fed them, and gave them drinks. The three men were angels and they revealed themselves as messengers of God. Shown at the bottom left. They told him his wife Sarah, who was 80 years old, would bear a child. Once they had the child God order Abraham to sacrifice Isaac but was ordered to stop by an angel. Shown at the top.

The Story of Isaac (Panel)
Isaac is the son of Abraham. He was going to be sacrificed before an angel stopped Abraham. Jacob is receiving Issac's blessing. Shown on the right. Rebecca is listening to God tell her of her two sons who will have conflicts. Shown on the rooftop.

The Story of Joseph (Panel)


Joseph's father's name was Jacob and they lived in Canaan. Joseph was the second youngest of 11 brothers and his father spent more time with him because of it. Jacob had given Joseph a special robe, which his brothers became envious of. Joseph had two dreams he told his brothers about one where they were all killing him and the other was where they were bowing to him. They were enraged and were planning on killing him but sold him to slavery and being owned by Egpyt. Shown at the bottom right. Joseph was imprisoned and told people their meaning of their dreams. The Pharaoh sought Joseph to explain his dream. The Pharaoh told Joseph of his dreams of his city becoming low in food resources. Joseph suggest putting food aside each year for the upcoming low harvest. Shown with people having plentiful food.

The Story of Moses (Panel)
Moses was hidden by his birth mother in a basket in the Nile River. The Pharaoh's daughter spotted Moses and took him from the basket. Shown on the left with the river and people. Moses became a child of the Pharaoh of Egypt. He was born an Israelite and his people were enslaved by people of Egypt. The 10 plagues hit Egypt and people are shown to be frightened. Shown by the people on the right. Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt to cross the Red Sea. Shown on the right, people rejoicing. Moses receives the 10 commandments from God on Mount Sinai. Shown at the top.

The Story of Joshua (Panel)
Moses died. Joshua was now the leader of the Israelites and had to lead them to the Promised Land. Shown at the bottom. God's people, to cross the Jordan River. Seen in the middle of a river stream. Joshua carries the 10 commandments around the city of Jericho seven times then the wall collapsed. Joshua and his army then took over the city. Shown at the top. They were victorious in taking the city. Shown at the top.

The Story of David (Panel)
Saul was the king of Israel. God said Saul was not the chosen king to lead God's people. Samuel, a prophet, who was sent by God to search for a new king. David was brought back to Saul like David and had become his armor bearer and had him carry his shield. A war was between Israel and Egypt. Shown throughout the photo, Goliath promised his armies work quit if someone could kill him. David was skilled at killing beast from protecting his sheep, as a herdsman, and hit Goliath with a rock and killed him with his own sword. Shown at the bottom of the photo.

The Story of King Solomon (Panel)
King Solomon made an alliance with the Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. Shown in the middle. God Solomon any wish. Solomon asked God to become a better leader and God rewarded him with wisdom. People acknowledged Solomon as a good and wise king. Shown with the rejoiceful crowd. Two prostitutes came to the king. They both had a baby. One of the babies died. The mother of the dead baby claimed that the live baby was hers. Both women swore the live baby was theirs. King Solomon ordered the baby to be cut in half so they could share the baby. Its mother cried out for mercy on her baby, while the other shamelessly submitted. Solomon rewarded the one who cried out, since he believed she was truly the mother. Shown on the middle left side; behind his wife.

15 Flagellazione
In Flagellation, one of the panels on the North Doors.

Earlier doors by Andrea Pisano

As recommended by Giotto, Andrea Pisano was awarded the commission to design the first set of doors at the Florence Baptistery in 1329. The south doors were originally installed on the east side facing the Duomo, and were transferred to their present location in 1452. These proto-Renaissance doors consist of 28 quatrefoil panels, with the twenty top panels depicting scenes from the life of St. John the Baptist. The eight lower panels depict the eight virtues of hope, faith, charity, humility, fortitude, temperance, justice and prudence. Pisano took six years to complete them, finishing in 1336. In 1453, Ghiberti and his son Vittorio were commissioned to add a door case to Pisano's existing panels. Ghiberti died in 1455, eight years before the frame was finished leaving a majority of the work to Vittorio and other members of his workshop.[3] There is a Latin inscription on top of the door: "Andreas Ugolini Nini de Pisis me fecit A.D. MCCCXXX" (Andrea Pisano made me in 1330). The South Doors were undergoing restoration during September, 2016.

1401 competition

In 1401, the Arte di Calimala (Cloth Importers Guild) announced a competition to design doors which would eventually be placed on the north side of the baptistry (the original location for these doors was the east side of the baptistry, but the doors were moved to the north side of the baptistry after Ghiberti completed his second commission, known as the "Gates of Paradise").[4]

These new doors would serve as a votive offering to celebrate Florence being spared from relatively recent scourges such as the Black Death in 1348. Each participant was given was given four tables of brass, and was required to make a relief of the “Sacrifice of Isaac” on a piece of metal that was the size and shape of the door panels.[1] Each artist was given a year to prepare the doors, and the artist who was judged the best was to be given the commission.[1] While many artists competed for this commission the jury only selected seven semifinalists which included Ghiberti, Filippo Brunelleschi, Simone da Colle, Francesco di Val d’Ombrino, Niccolo d’ Arezzo, Jacopo della Quercia da Siena, and Niccolo Lamberti.[1] In 1402 at the time of judging, only Ghiberti and Brunelleschi were finalists, and when the judges could not decide, they were assigned to work together on them. Brunelleschi's pride got in the way, and he went to Rome to study architecture leaving 21-year-old Ghiberti to work on the doors himself. Ghiberti's autobiography, however, claimed that he had won, "without a single dissenting voice." The original designs of The Sacrifice of Isaac by Ghiberti and Brunelleschi are on display in the museum of the Bargello in Florence. Differences between the Sacrifice of Isaac created by Brunelleschi and Ghiberti include the way that the panel was constructed and the overall efficiency of the panel. Brunelleschi's panel consisted of individual pieces of the figures of the artwork being placed onto the bronze framework. In contrast to Brunelleschi's method of creating the artwork on his panel, Ghiberti's casting of the art had all of the figures, with the exception of Isaac, were created as one piece.[5] The pieces of the figures themselves were all hollowed out on the inside. Due to the methods of how Ghiberti made the panel, it ended up being stronger, used less bronze, and had less weight than Brunelleschi's panel. The panel used less bronze which was more cost efficient. Including the aspect of the art itself, these differences were included on how the council of the competition decided on the victor.

After the competition

After the competition, Ghiberti's father Bartolo assisted him greatly in perfecting the design of his door before it was cast.[1] This commission brought immediate and lasting recognition and to the young artist. In 1403 the formal contract was signed with Bartolo di Michele's workshop, the same workshop he had previously been trained in, and overnight it became the most prestigious in Florence.[1] Four years later in 1407, Lorenzo legally took over the commission and was prohibited from accepting additional commissions. He devoted much of his time to creating the gates, and was paid two-hundred florins a year for his work.[1] To cast the doors, Lorenzo worked in a studio named the Aja or Threshing floor. The studio was located near the Hospital of Saint. Maria Nuova, the oldest hospital that is still active in Florence today.[1] At the Aja, Ghiberti built a large furnace to melt his metal in an attempted to cast the doors, however his first model was a failure. After this trial, he attempted once more to make a mold. On his second try he was successful and ended up using 34,000 pounds of bronze, costing a total of 22,000 ducats.[1] This was a large sum in this time period.

It took Ghiberti 21 years to complete the doors. These gilded bronze doors consist of twenty-eight panels, with twenty panels depicting the life of Christ from the New Testament, and on April 19, 1424 they were placed on the side of the Baptistery.[1] There are Twenty panels showing the life of Christ from the New Testament depicted: the Annunciation, Nativity, Adoration of the Magi, Dispute with the Doctors, Baptism of Christ, Temptation of Christ, Chasing the Merchants Away, Christ Walking on Water, Transfiguration, Resurrection of Lazarus, Christ’s Arrival in Jerusalem, Last Supper, Agony in the Garden, Christ Being Captured, Flagellation, Christ on Trial with Pilate, Trip to Calvary, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Pentecost.[6] The eight lower panels show the four evangelists and the Church Fathers: Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, Saint Gregory and Saint Augustine. The panels are surrounded by a framework of foliage in the door case and gilded busts of prophets and sibyls at the intersections of the panels. Originally installed on the east side in place of Pisano's doors, they were later moved to the north side. They are described by the art historian Antonio Paolucci as "the most important event in the history of Florentine art in the first quarter of the 15th century".[7]

The bronze statues over the northern gate depict John the Baptist preaching to a Pharisee and Sadducee and were sculpted by Francesco Rustici. Rustici may have been aided in his design by Leonardo da Vinci, who assisted him in the choice of his tools.

After completion of the doors

After the completion of these doors, Ghiberti was widely recognized as a celebrity and the top artist in this field. He was given many commissions, including some from the pope. In 1425 he got a second commission for the Florence Baptistery, this time for the east doors, on which he and his workshop (including Michelozzo and Benozzo Gozzoli) toiled for 27 years, excelling themselves. The subjects of the designs for the doors were chosen by Leonardo Bruni d'Arezzo, then chancellor of the Republic of Florence.[8] They have ten panels depicting scenes from the Old Testament, and were in turn installed on the east side. The panels are large rectangles and were no longer embedded in the traditional Gothic quatrefoil, as in the previous doors. Ghiberti employed the recently discovered principles of perspective to give depth to his compositions. Each panel depicts more than one episode. "The Story of Joseph" portrays the narrative scheme of Joseph Cast by His Brethren into the Well, Joseph Sold to the Merchants, The merchants delivering Joseph to the pharaoh, Joseph Interpreting the Pharaoh's dream, The Pharaoh Paying him Honour, Jacob Sends His Sons to Egypt and Joseph Recognizes His Brothers and Returns Home. According to Vasari's Lives, this panel was the most difficult and also the most beautiful. The figures are distributed in very low relief in a perspective space (a technique invented by Donatello and called rilievo schiacciato, which literally means "flattened relief"). Ghiberti uses different sculptural techniques, from incised lines to almost free-standing figure sculpture within the panels, further accentuating the sense of space.

The panels are included in a richly decorated gilt framework of foliage and fruit, with many statuettes of prophets and 24 busts. The two central busts are portraits of the artist and of his father, Bartolomeo Ghiberti.

The Annunciation panel portrays the scene with an angel dressed in robe, wings, and a trumpet appearing to Mary, which was shown in an expression of shock leaving a doorway.[9] The Nativity panel depicts the birth of Christ with an ox, a donkey, Joseph and Mary, an angel, and the shepherds. All the characters in the panel are all depicted near a cave while all but Mary are showing reverence towards her.[10] The Adoration of the Magi panel shows the three magi giving praise to Christ and Mary, with Joseph and angels in the background.[11] In the Christ Among the Doctors panel, Christ is depicted as a child sitting upon a throne-like chair surrounded by the doctors in discussion with him. The narrative of the doctors being shocked of how intelligently Christ spoke is demonstrated by how all the doctors are speaking to each other in intense discussion around Christ.[12] The Baptism of Christ panel, Christ is shown surrounded by spectators, a dove, and his cousin, John the Baptist, being baptized in a river. The background includes intensely detailed trees with leaves, rocks, and a flowing river.[13] The Temptation of Christ panel is shown with Christ surrounded by angels while facing the fallen angel, Satan, standing upon rocks. Satan is depicted as a human with bat-like wings and robes.[14] The Chasing the Merchants Away panel depicts the scene with by Christ pushing away a group of merchants with his fists raised inside the temple. The temple in the background is depicted by columns and arches with complex designs, the merchants are also shown holding goods while being pushed away.[15] The Christ Walking on Water panel displays Jesus standing on water and the disciples at sea while Peter is drowning. The panel shows a ship detailed with sails shown to have the individual ropes from the mast as well as the ship itself having artistic designs. The ocean is also detailed with the waves flowing and where Jesus stands on the water, it bends down to show him standing on it.[16] The Transfiguration panel shows Jesus standing with the prophets Moses and Elijah over his disciples Peter, James, and John. The awe of the three disciples are expressed by them being on the ground and looking away from Christ and the prophets.[17] The Raising of Lazarus panel shows Lazarus leaving his tomb being surrounded by Christ, his sisters, and disciples. The awe of the sisters of Lazarus are shown by one of them on the ground and the other grabbing Lazarus while kneeling. The Entry into Jerusalem panel shows Christ riding upon a donkey being greeted by a large crowd with the gates of Jerusalem in the background. Each individual of the crowd has a distinct face with different hairstyles and clothes.[18] The Last Supper panel shows the well known scene in the New Testament of Christ eating with the twelve disciples. The background is decorated grapes on the columns and drapes in the background while Christ is at the head of the table and the disciples sitting in unison.[19] The Agony in the Garden panel shows Christ praying towards an angle and disciples sleeping behind him. The imagery of the garden is detailed with highly detailed bushes, rocks, and trees.[20] The Christ Being Captured panel shows Christ being marked by Judas to be arrested by the Roman soldiers while disciples are struggling against the soldier. The soldiers each have individualized armor and weapons like a spear, axe, and a sword.[21] The Flagellation panel depicts Jesus being flogged by the Roman soldiers holding rods in a swinging motion.[22] The Crucifixion panel of the North Doors depicts the scene with Mary and John at the foot of the cross mourning with angels next to Christ hanging. Mary is shown to be in mourning with her looking down away from the cross.[23] Although the overall quality of the casting is considered exquisite, there are some known mistakes. For example, in panel 15 of the North Doors (Flagellation) the casting of the second column in the front row has been overlaid over an arm, so that one of the flagellators appears trapped in stone, with his hand sticking out of it.[24]

Michelangelo referred to these doors as fit to be the "Gates of Paradise" (It. Porte del Paradiso), and they are still invariably referred to by this name. Giorgio Vasari described them a century later as "undeniably perfect in every way and must rank as the finest masterpiece ever created". Ghiberti himself said they were "the most singular work that I have ever made".

St. John the Baptist Bronze Statue


The St. John The Baptist statue sits in a niche of the Orsanmichele in Florence was built from 1412-1416. This statue based on the St. John the Baptist.

Ghiberti's masterpiece was commissioned by the Arte di Calimala guild, which was the wool merchants guild. They were one of the wealthiest in Florence.

This statue was a technological advance for its time. Ghiberti had incredible casting skill to be able to bond this 8’ 4” statue made of bronze.

Ghiberti's statue was influenced by the gothic style in Italy, shown by the elegant curves from the sword and drapery.

St. Matthew Bronze Statue

Orsanmichele, san matteo di Ghiberti 02

This statue was funded by the Arte Del Cambio guild, aka the bankers guild. The statue was built from 1419-1423.

The Saint Matthew statue reached a height of 8’ 10” of bronze. It is also located in a niche in the Orsanmichele in Florence.

The guild specified they wanted their statue as tall or taller than the St. John the Baptist statue.

Later life, family, and death

By 1417 Lorenzo Ghiberti was married to Marsila, the 16- year-old daughter of Bartolommeo di Lucca, a worthy comb-maker.[25] Together they had two sons. In 1417 they had Tommaso Ghiberti, and a year later they had Vittorio Ghiberti.[26] Ghiberti was wealthier than most of his contemporary artists, with his success bringing him great financial rewards. A surviving tax return of 1427 shows and he owned a considerable amount of land in, and outside of Florence. He also had a substantial amount of money invested in government bonds to his credit. Over the years, his real estate and monetary holdings continued to grow.[26] Lorenzo Ghiberti lived to be seventy-five years old, and succumbed to a fever and died in Florence.[1] He was buried on December 1, 1455, in Santa Croce.[1] Vittorio followed in his father's footsteps as a goldsmith and bronze-caster, but never rose to great fame.[1] Tommaso did join his father's business, helping as a collaborator with Lorenzo's assistants.[25] After his father's death it is unknown if he continued in the business, as he is not mentioned in any of the documents after 1447.[25] Later, Vittorio had a son in which he named Buonaccorso who followed the paternal art.[1] However, Buonaccorso had a different spin on his grandfather's work, with his metal castings taking the form of artillery and cannonballs. His manufacture of these weapons made him famous, mainly for supplying the wars of Sarzana and Pisa.[1]

Tribunal of the two women
The story of Joseph, a panel from the second set of doors to the Baptistery

Other works

Ghiberti was commissioned to execute monumental gilded bronze statues for select niches of the Orsanmichele in Florence, one of Saint John the Baptist for the Arte di Calimala (Wool Merchants' Guild) and one of St. Matthew for the Arte di Cambio (Bankers' Guild). Finally, he also produced a bronze figure of St. Stephen for the Arte della Lana (Wool Manufacturers' Guild).

He was also a collector of classical artifacts and a historian. He was actively involved in the spreading of humanist ideas. His unfinished Commentarii are a valuable source of information about Renaissance art and contains what is considered the first autobiography of an artist. This work was a major source for Vasari's Vite.[27]

Ghiberti's "Commentario" includes the earliest known surviving autobiography of an artist. He discusses the development of art from the time of Cimabue through to his own work. In describing his second bronze portal for the Florence Baptistry, he states: "In this work I sought to imitate nature as closely as possible, both in proportions and in perspective ... the buildings appear as seen by the eye of one who gazes on them from a distance." The language Ghiberti used to describe his art has proved invaluable to art historians in understanding the aims Renaissance artists were striving for in their artworks.

Paolo Uccello, who was commonly regarded as the first great master of perspective, worked in Ghiberti's workshop for several years, making it difficult to determine the extent to which Uccello's innovations in perspective were due to Ghiberti's instruction. Donatello, known for one of the first examples of central-point perspective in sculpture, also worked briefly in Ghiberti's workshop. It was also about this time that Paolo began his lifelong friendship with Donatello. In about 1413 one of Ghiberti's contemporaries, Filippo Brunelleschi, demonstrated the geometrical method of perspective used today by artists, by painting the outlines of various Florentine buildings onto a mirror. When the building's outline was continued, he noticed that all of the lines converged on the horizon line.

Recent scholarship indicates that in his work on perspective, Ghiberti was influenced by the Arab polymath Alhazen who had written about the optical basis of perspective in the early 11th century. His Book of Optics was translated into Italian in the 14th century as Deli Aspecti,[28] and was quoted at length in Ghiberti's "Commentario terzo." Author A. Mark Smith suggests that, through Ghiberti, Alhazen's Book of Optics "may well have been central to the development of artificial perspective in early Renaissance Italian painting."[29]



Ghiberti's winning piece for the 1401 competition.

Paradies tuer florenz

Gates of Paradise, Baptistery, Florence. The doors in situ are reproductions.

Abraham (Gates of Paradise) 01

Angled view of a panel with the story of Abraham from the Florence Gates of Paradise (see above).

Santa Croce Firenze Apr 2008 (4)

Tomb of Ghiberti in the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Scott, Leader (1882). Ghiberti and Donatello, with other early Italian sculptors,. New York.
  2. ^ Renaissance Jewels and Jeweled Objects, Baltimore Museum of Art, 1968, p. 29: "Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455) began his career under the goldsmith Bartoluccio di Michele ... Antonio Pollaiuolo (1433-1498) was also a pupil of Bartoluccio di Michele..."
  3. ^ Bloch, Amy (2009-06-01). "Baptism and the frame of the south door of the Baptistery, Florence". Sculpture Journal. 18 (1): 24–37. doi:10.3828/sj.18.1.3. ISSN 1366-2724.
  4. ^ See Laurie Schneider Adams, Italian Renaissance Art, (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 2001), 60. Actually, at the time of the 1401 competition the Florence baptistry needed two portals to be decorated. The aim of the 1401–02 competition was to begin work on this project. See also Monica Bowen, "Ghiberti's North Doors," from Alberti's Window, July 24, 2010.
  5. ^ Gregory, E.M (2014). "Storytelling in Bronze: The Doors of the Baptistery of San Giovanni as Emblems of Florence's Roman History and Artistic Progression". College of William and Mary: 28–29.
  6. ^ "Florence Baptistery - North Door - The Panels". www.guildofthedome.com. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  7. ^ Antonio Paolucci (1996), "The Origins of Renaissance Art: The Baptistery Doors, Florence" 176 pages; Publisher: George Braziller; ISBN 0-8076-1413-0
  8. ^ Scott, Leader (1882). "Chapter III. Baptistery Doors". Ghiberti and Donatello. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington. p. 65.
  9. ^ "The North Door Panels". www.guildofthedome.com. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  10. ^ "The North Door Panels". www.guildofthedome.com. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  11. ^ "The North Door Panels". www.guildofthedome.com. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  12. ^ "The North Door Panels". www.guildofthedome.com. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  13. ^ "The North Door Panels". www.guildofthedome.com. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  14. ^ "The North Door Panels". www.guildofthedome.com. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  15. ^ "The North Door Panels". www.guildofthedome.com. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  16. ^ "The North Door Panels". www.guildofthedome.com. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  17. ^ "The North Door Panels". www.guildofthedome.com. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  18. ^ "The North Door Panels". www.guildofthedome.com. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  19. ^ "The North Door Panels". www.guildofthedome.com. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  20. ^ "The North Door Panels". www.guildofthedome.com. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  21. ^ "The North Door Panels". www.guildofthedome.com. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  22. ^ "The North Door Panels". www.guildofthedome.com. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  23. ^ "The North Door Panels". www.guildofthedome.com. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  24. ^ Julian Bell (2007). Mirror of the World: A New History of Art (1st paperback ed.). Thames & Hudson. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-500-28754-5. It is noticeable nonetheless that the casting of one column has been mistakenly overlaid over a flagellator's arm, as it were trapping his hand.
  25. ^ a b c "History of Art: Renaissance - Lorenzo Ghiberti". www.all-art.org. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  26. ^ a b "OU Libraries Authentication Service". academic-eb-com.ezproxy.lib.ou.edu. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  27. ^ Artnet artist biographies retrieved January 25, 2010
  28. ^ Falco, Charles M. (12–15 February 2007), Ibn al-Haytham and the Origins of Modern Image Analysis, International Conference on Information Sciences, Signal Processing and its Applications
  29. ^ A. Mark Smith (2001), "The Latin Source of the Fourteenth-Century Italian Translation of Alhacen's De aspectibus (Vat. Lat. 4595)", Arabic Sciences and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, 11: 27–43 [28], doi:10.1017/s0957423901001035

Sullivan, Mary Ann. “Gates of Paradise, Florence Baptistry.” Images of the Gates of Paradise by Ghiberti, Florence Baptistry, Florence, Italy. Digital Imaging Project: Art Historical Images of European and North American Architecture and Sculpture from Classical Greek to Post-Modern. Scanned from Slides Taken on Site by Mary Ann Sullivan, Bluffton College.

External links

External video
Brunelleschi & Ghiberti, The Sacrifice of Isaac, Smarthistory[1]
  1. ^ "Brunelleschi & Ghiberti, The Sacrifice of Isaac". Smarthistory at Khan Academy. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
Adoration of the Magi (Gentile da Fabriano)

The Adoration of the Magi is a painting by the Italian painter Gentile da Fabriano. The work, housed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, is considered his finest work, and has been described as "the culminating work of International Gothic painting".The painting was commissioned by the Florentine literate and patron of the arts Palla Strozzi, at the arrival of the artist in the city in 1420. Palla paid 300 florins for the altarpiece, or about six times the annual salary of a skilled labourer. According to Baldwin both Palla Strozzi and his father, Onofrio, appear in the painting − Palla as the man in the red hat in the forefront of the painting, and Onofrio as the falcon trainer situated behind the youngest king. According to other opinions, the falcon trainer depicts the commissioner Palla Strozzi with his eldest son Lorenzo to his right. Finished in 1423, the painting was placed in the new chapel of the church of Santa Trinita which Lorenzo Ghiberti was executing in these years.

The works shows both the international and Sienese schools' influences on Gentile's art, combined with the Renaissance novelties he knew in Florence. The panel portrays the path of the three Magi, in several scenes which start from the upper left corner (the voyage and the entrance into Bethlehem) and continue clockwise, to the larger meeting with the Virgin Mary and the newborn Jesus which occupies the lowest part of the picture. All the figures wear splendid Renaissance costumes, brocades richly decorated with real gold and precious stones inserted in the panel. Gentile's typical attention for detail is also evident in the exotic animals, such as a leopard, a dromedary, some apes and a lion, as well as the magnificent horses and a hound.

The frame is also a work of art, characterized by three cusps with tondoes portraying Christ Blessing (centre) and the Annunciation (with the Archangel Gabriel on the left and the Madonna on the right). The predella has three rectangular paintings with scenes of Jesus' childhood: the Nativity, the Flight into Egypt and the Presentation at the Temple (the latter a copy, the original being in the Louvre in Paris).

Barna da Siena

Barna da Siena, also known as Berna di Siena, was presumed to be a Sienese painter active from about 1330 to 1350.

The painter was first referred to by Lorenzo Ghiberti in his I Commentarii (mid 15th century) as a Sienese painter who painted several works in Tuscany, including many stories from the Old Testament in San Gimignano. Giorgio Vasari referred in the first edition of his Vite (1550) to the Sienese painter ‘Berna’ who was responsible for frescos of Old Testament scenes in the Collegiata di San Gimignano. In the second edition of the Vite (1568) Vasari only connected the artist with the New Testament scenes in that church, dating them to the very end of Barna’s life, apparently to 1381.

Because of the wide variations in style and quality in the New Testament paintings in San Gimignano it is believed that they were the work of three or four distinct painters. It is further believed that Vasari's dating of the New Testament scenes was incorrect as on stylistic grounds they should be dated to the period 1330-1340s. Because of these problems with the identification of the artist a majority of scholars now believe that ‘Barna’ is a historical fiction. This conclusion has generated various theories on the authorship of the San Gimignano frescoes. The view is that the Collegiata frescoes and other panel paintings attributed to the artist are all closely linked to the work of followers of Simone Martini and the circle of Lippo Memmi.

Bernardo Cennini

Bernardo Cennini (Italian: [berˈnardo tʃenˈniːni]; 1414/5 – c. 1498) was an Italian goldsmith, sculptor and early printer of Florence. As a sculptor he was among the assistants to Lorenzo Ghiberti in the long project producing the second pair of doors—the Doors of Paradise—for the Battistero di San Giovanni. He produced the first book printed at Florence. The painter and author of a famous book on the crafts, Cennino D'Andrea Cennini, was a member of the same Florentine family.

Catholic Church in Italy

The Catholic Church in Italy is part of the worldwide Catholic Church in communion with the Pope in Rome, under the Conference of Italian Bishops. The pope serves also as Primate of Italy. In addition to Italy, two other sovereign nations are included in Italian-based dioceses: San Marino and the Vatican City. There are 225 dioceses in the Catholic Church in Italy, see further in this article and in the article List of Catholic dioceses in Italy.

The pope resides in the Vatican City, enclaved in Rome. Having been a major center for Christian pilgrimage since the Roman Empire, Rome is commonly regarded as the "home" of the Catholic Church, since it is where Saint Peter settled, ministered, served as bishop, and died. His relics are located in Rome along with Saint Paul's, among many other saints of Early Christianity.

Owing to the Italian Renaissance, church art in Italy is extraordinary, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Fra Carnevale, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Sandro Botticelli, Tintoretto, Titian, Raphael, and Giotto, etc.

Italian church architecture is equally spectacular and historically important to Western culture, notably St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Cathedral of St. Mark's in Venice, and Brunelleschi's Florence Cathedral, which includes the "Gates of Paradise" doors at the Baptistery by Lorenzo Ghiberti.

Florence Baptistery

The Florence Baptistery, also known as the Baptistery of Saint John (Italian: Battistero di San Giovanni), is a religious building in Florence, Italy, and has the status of a minor basilica. The octagonal baptistery stands in both the Piazza del Duomo and the Piazza San Giovanni, across from Florence Cathedral and the Campanile di Giotto.

The Baptistery is one of the oldest buildings in the city, constructed between 1059 and 1128 in the Florentine Romanesque style. Although the Florentine style did not spread across Italy as widely as the Pisan Romanesque or Lombard styles, its influence was decisive for the subsequent development of architecture, as it formed the basis from which Francesco Talenti, Leon Battista Alberti, Filippo Brunelleschi, and other master architects of their time created Renaissance architecture. In the case of the Florentine Romanesque, one can speak of "proto-renaissance", but at the same time an extreme survival of the late antique architectural tradition in Italy, as in the cases of the Basilica of San Salvatore, Spoleto, the Temple of Clitumnus, and the church of Sant'Alessandro in Lucca.

The Baptistery is renowned for its three sets of artistically important bronze doors with relief sculptures. The south doors were created by Andrea Pisano and the north and east doors by Lorenzo Ghiberti. The east doors were dubbed by Michelangelo the Gates of Paradise.

The Italian poet Dante Alighieri and many other notable Renaissance figures, including members of the Medici family, were baptized in this baptistery.

Ghiberti (crater)

Ghiberti is a crater on Mercury, with a diameter of 110 kilometers. Its name, Ghiberti, was adopted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 1976; after the Italian sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455).

Luca della Robbia

Luca della Robbia (1399/1400–1482) was an Italian sculptor from Florence. Della Robbia is noted for his colorful, tin-glazed terracotta statuary, a technique which he invented and passed on to his nephew Andrea della Robbia and great-nephews Giovanni della Robbia and Girolamo della Robbia. Though a leading sculptor in stone, he worked primarily in terracotta after developing his technique in the early 1440s. His large workshop produced both cheaper works cast from molds in multiple versions, and more expensive one-off individually modeled pieces.

The vibrant, polychrome glazes made his creations both more durable and expressive. His work is noted for its charm rather than the drama of the work of some of his contemporaries. Two of his famous works are The Nativity, c. 1460 and Madonna and Child, c. 1475. In stone his most famous work is also his first major commission, the choir gallery, Cantoria in the Florence Cathedral (1431–1438).Della Robbia was praised by his compatriot Leon Battista Alberti for genius comparable to that of the sculptors Donatello and Lorenzo Ghiberti, the architect Filippo Brunelleschi, and the painter Masaccio. By ranking him with contemporary artists of this stature, Alberti reminds us of the interest and strength of Luca's work in marble and bronze, as well as in the terra-cottas always associated with his name.


Michelozzo di Bartolomeo Michelozzi (1396–1472) was an Italian architect and sculptor. Considered one of the great pioneers of architecture during the Renaissance, Michelozzo was a favored Medici architect who was extensively employed by Cosimo de' Medici. He was a pupil of Lorenzo Ghiberti in his early years and later collaborated with Donatello.

Known primarily for designing Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence, he is often overshadowed by his contemporaries Donatello in sculpture and Brunelleschi in architecture. "He remained for his biographers a shadowy, active, competent, second-rate figure, circling around the glowing glory of the two dominant masters."

Niccolò di Piero Lamberti

Niccolò di Piero Lamberti (ca. 1370 – 1451), also known as Niccolò di Pietro Lamberti, Niccolo Aretino, Niccolò d'Arezzo and as il Pela, was an Italian sculptor and architect. Little is known about his life other than that he was married in Florence in 1392. His son, Piero di Niccolò Lamberti (1393–1435), was also a sculptor, and the two are notable for exporting the Tuscan style of sculpture to Venice, where they were active in the late 1410s and 1420s.

By 1391 he was working on the Porta della Mandorla of the Duomo in Florence. In 1401 he was one of the artists who participated in the contest that was held to design the North doors of the Baptistery, won by Lorenzo Ghiberti. In 1408 he was chosen as one of three sculptors to create one of the seated Evangelists (St. Mark) at the Florence Cathedral. The statue of St. Mark for the Florence Cathedral was completed in 1415 and is now housed at the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Florence. He was later active in both Venice and Bologna. In Venice, his significant role in the sculpture of the upper storey of St. Mark’s façade is notable. In addition to his statue of St. Luke at Orsanmichele, he created St. James the Major, on the southern façade for the tabernacle of The Guild of Furriers and Skinners. Lamberti is also responsible for two series of capitals at Orsanmichele, one on the right side of the arcade of the eastern façade and one on the left side of the arcade of the southern façade.


Orsanmichele (Italian pronunciation: [orsamːiˈkɛːle]) (or "Kitchen Garden of St. Michael", from the contraction in Tuscan dialect of the Italian word orto) is a church in the Italian city of Florence. The building was constructed on the site of the kitchen garden of the monastery of San Michele, which no longer exists.

Located on the Via Calzaiuoli in Florence, the church was originally built as a grain market in 1337 by Francesco Talenti, Neri di Fioravante, and Benci di Cione. Between 1380 and 1404, it was converted into a church used as the chapel of Florence's powerful craft and trade guilds. On the ground floor of the square building are the 13th-century arches that originally formed the loggia of the grain market. The second floor was devoted to offices, while the third housed one of the city's municipal grain storehouses, maintained to withstand famine or siege. Late in the 14th century, the guilds were charged by the city to commission statues of their patron saints to embellish the facades of the church. The sculptures seen today are copies, the originals having been removed to museums (see below).

Parri Spinelli

Parri Spinelli (c. 1387 – 1453) was an Italian (Tuscan) painter of the early renaissance who was born in the Province of Arezzo. His father and teacher was Spinello Aretino (1350–1410), who was active throughout Tuscany. Parri Spinelli lived in Florence from 1411 or 1412 to 1419, and was a member of the workshop of Lorenzo Ghiberti. He became the most important painter in Arezzo upon his return. Spinelli died in 1453 in Arezzo Province. His paintings are notable for their bold colors and figures that are more elongated than those of his predecessors.


Pelago is a comune (municipality) in the Metropolitan City of Florence in the Italian region Tuscany, located about 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of Florence. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 7,396 and an area of 54.8 square kilometres (21.2 sq mi).The municipality of Pelago contains the frazioni (subdivisions, mainly villages and hamlets) Borselli, Carbonile, Consuma, Diacceto, Fontisterni, Magnale, Palaie, Paterno, Raggioli, San Francesco, and Stentatoio.

Lorenzo Ghiberti was born in Pelago in 1378.

Pelago borders the following municipalities: Montemignaio, Pontassieve, Pratovecchio, Reggello, Rignano sull'Arno, Rufina.


A quatrefoil (anciently caterfoil) is a decorative element consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially overlapping circles of the same diameter. It is found in art, architecture, heraldry and traditional Christian symbolism. The word quatrefoil means "four leaves", from Latin quattuor, four, plus folium, a leaf, referring specifically to a four-leafed clover, but applies in general to four-lobed shapes in various contexts. In recent years, a number of luxury brands have asserted copyright claims related to the symbol.

Saint Matthew (Ghiberti)

Saint Matthew is a 2.7 m high bronze statue of saint Matthew by Lorenzo Ghiberti, completed in 1419-1422/23 for the Arte del Cambio. One of a cycle of fourteen patron saints of the Florentine guilds commissioned for the external niches of Orsanmichele, it is now in the Museo di Orsanmichele.

Saint Stephen (Ghiberti)

Saint Stephen is a 2.6 m high bronze statue of saint Stephen by Lorenzo Ghiberti, completed for the Arte della Lana guild in 1427-28. It is now in the Museo di Orsanmichele, although a replica fills its original niche on the exterior of Orsanmichele, where it was one of a cycle of fourteen sculptures, each showing the patron saint of one of the guilds of Florence.

San Girolamo, Volterra

San Girolamo is a Renaissance style church just outside the old walled city of Volterra, Italy. The church and attached Franciscan convent, a complex also known as of San Girolamo al Velloso, were designed by Michelozzo and construction was completed by about 1445. Some have questioned the attribution and even suggested that it was designed another famous Florentine architect, Lorenzo Ghiberti.

Among it patrons was the Duke Cosimo de' Medici from Florence. The long portico in front of the church has similarities to another Michelozzo work, the church and convent of Bosco ai Frati in San Piero a Sieve.

The facade has a long asymmetric portico leading to two chapels each contains terracota reliefs by Giovanni della Robbia depicting St Francis of Assisi consigns the third order to St Louis of France and St Elizabeth of Hungary and the Last Judgement (1501).

The main altar is flanked by two paintings: an Annunciation by Benvenuto di Giovanni, and a Madonna and Child with Saints by Domenico di Michelino. An interior chapel has an Immaculate Conception by Santi di Tito. The glazed terracotta statues of St Jerome and St Francis are attributed to Giovanni Gonmelli, also called il Cieco di Gambassi (blind man of Gambassi).

The adjacent convent is now a youth hostel and hotel.

Siena Baptistery of San Giovanni

The Battistero di San Giovanni (Italian: "Baptistry of St. John") is a religious building in Siena, Italy. It is located in the square with the same name, near the final spans of the choir of the city's cathedral.

It was built between 1316 and 1325 by Camaino di Crescentino, the father of Tino di Camaino. The façade, in Gothic style, is unfinished in the upper part, such as the apse of the cathedral.

In the interior, the rectangular hall, divided into a nave and two aisles by two columns, contains a hexagonal baptismal font in bronze, marble and vitreous enamel, realized in 1417-1431 by the main sculptors of the time: Donatello (panel of "Herod's Banquet" and statues of the "Faith" and "Hope"), Lorenzo Ghiberti, Giovanni di Turino, Goro di Neroccio and Jacopo della Quercia (statue of John the Baptist and other figures). The panels represent the Life of John the Baptist, and include:

"Annunciation to Zacharias" by Jacopo della Quercia (1428-1429)

"Birth of John the Baptist" by Giovanni di Turino (1427)

"Baptist Preaching" by Giovanni di Turino (1427)

"Baptism of Christ" by Ghiberti (1427)

"Arrest of John the Baptist" by Ghiberti and Giuliano di Ser Andrea

"The Feast of Herod" by Donatello (1427)These panels are flanked on the corners by six figures, two by Donatello ("Faith" and "Hope") in 1429; three by Giovanni di Turino ("Justice", "Charity" and "Providence", 1431); and the "Fortitude" is by Goro di Ser Neroccio (1431).

The marble shrine on the font was designed by Jacopo della Quercia between 1427 and 1429. The five "Prophets" in the niches and the marble statuette of "John the Baptist" at the top are equally by his hand. Two of the bronze angels are by Donatello, three by Giovanni di Turino (the sixth is by an unknown artist).

The frescoes are by Vecchietta and his school (1447-1450, Articles of Faith, Prophets and Sibyls), Benvenuto di Giovanni, the school of Jacopo della Quercia e, perhaps, one by Piero Orioli. Vecchietta also painted two scenes on the wall of the apse, representing the Flagellation and the Road to Calvary. Michele di Matteo da Bologna painted in 1477 the frescoes on the vault of the apse.

St. John the Baptist (Ghiberti)

St. John the Baptist (1412–1416) is a bronze statue by Lorenzo Ghiberti located in one of the 14 niches of the Orsanmichele in Florence, Italy. The statue of the Saint was commissioned by the cloth merchant's guild, the Arte di Calimala. The artist's use of unnaturalistic but elegant curves in the hair and drapery of the saint show the influence of the International Gothic style prevalent in Italy at the time the work was created. The work was successfully cast in a single piece, making it the first bronze statue of its size to be cast in a single piece for at least several hundred years in Italy.

Tabernacle of the Linaioli

The Tabernacle of the Linaioli (Italian: Tabernacolo dei Linaioli, literally "Tabernacle of the Linen manufacturers") is a marble aedicula designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti, with paintings by Fra Angelico, dating to 1432-1433. It is housed in the National Museum of San Marco, Florence, central Italy.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.