From the Archives

I wrote this sometime in 2009: now I’m reposting it so you can read it again.

Lorenzo Ghiberti

Lorenzo Ghiberti, a famous sculptor of the Early Renaissance, was born in Florence , Italy 1378. His father was Bartoluccio Ghiberti a trained artist and goldsmith. Though he trained his son in the gold business Lorenzo became famous for his sculptures and metal work. Lorenzo went to work in the shop of Bartoluccio de Michele where his father had also trained. When the Black Death struck in 1400 He moved to Romagna where he helped complete a series of frescoes in a castle.  Lorenzo is remembered mostly for his two sets of doors that he designed for the cathedral in Florence. He built the first set in 1401. While executing this project with the help of many skilled workers Lorenzo reinvented the Roman art of “lost wax casting” which was used in the process of bronze casting. The door itself consisted of ten panels depicting scenes from the New Testament cast in bronze. Interestingly enough if you look closely you will find, in one of the small portholes in the doors, a self portrait of himself peeking out!  When this first set was completed and set up in the Baptistry of the cathedral Lorenzo was commissioned to make a second set for another doorway! This set was to be of the original plans for the first set but once again he designed ten( not 28) panels of a completely different style and perspective. Michelangelo later dubbed this set “The Gates Of Paradise”!  Though these doors were his main projects during his life Lorenzo completed many other statues and sculptures including a bronze likeness of St. Stephen for the Arte della Lana. He was also a historian and a humanist! Lorenzo died December 1, 1455 at the old  age of 77.



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