The Early Renaissance




 

 


Lorenzo Ghiberti
 
 
 

 

Ghiberti

Italian family of artists. Lorenzo Ghiberti was the leading bronze-caster in Florence in the early 15th century and the head of a highly influential workshop, which became a kind of academy of Florentine art. He was renowned both for his monumental bronze sculptures and for his development of a new type of pictorial low relief, which culminated in the panels of the Gates of Paradise for the Baptistery, Florence. About 1415 Lorenzo married Marsilia, the 16-year-old daughter of a wool-carder; their two sons, Tommaso Ghiberti (b c. 1417; d after 1455) and Vittorio Ghiberti I both worked in Lorenzo’s studio, although Tommaso is not mentioned in the documents after 1447. In 1443 Tommaso collaborated with another of Lorenzo’s assistants on the execution of the tabernacle for Michelozzo’s Baptist (Florence, Mus. Opera Duomo) on the silver altar of the Baptistery. In Lorenzo’s last years Vittorio played an increasingly important role as his partner. Vittorio’s son, Buonaccorso Ghiberti, was an artist and engineer whose zibaldone (sketchbook-notebook) includes numerous architectural and technical plans. Buonaccorso’s son Vittorio Ghiberti II (b Florence, 3 Sept 1501; d Ascoli Piceno, 1542) was active as a sculptor, painter and architect.

 
 
Lorenzo Ghiberti  


 (b Florence, 1378; d Florence, 1 Dec 1455).

Bronze-caster, sculptor, goldsmith, draughtsman, architect and writer. He was the most celebrated bronze-caster and goldsmith in early 15th-century Florence, and his many-sided activity makes him the first great representative of the universal artist of the Renaissance. His richly decorative and elegant art, which reached its most brilliant expression in the Gates of Paradise (Florence, Baptistery), did not break dramatically with the tradition of Late Gothic, yet Ghiberti was undoubtedly one of the great creative personalities of early Renaissance art; no contemporary artist had so deep an influence on the art and sculpture of later times. His art, in which idealism and realism are fused, reflects the discovery of Classical art as truly as the realism of Donatello, and to label Ghiberti a traditionalist is to define the Renaissance art of the early 15th century one-sidedly in terms of increased realism. His competition relief of the Sacrifice of Isaac (1401; Florence, Bargello) determined the development of low relief not only in the 15th century but through the stylistic periods of Mannerism and Baroque, and up until the work of Rodin in the 19th century. Ghiberti’s writings, I commentarii, which include his autobiography, established him as the first modern historian of the fine arts, and bear witness to his ideal of humanistic education and culture. He was wealthier than most of his contemporary artists, and he owned considerable land and securities.
 

 

 
 

 

 


Self-Portrait (detail from the eastern door)

1425-52
Bronze
Baptistry, Florence
 
 
 


Northern Door

1401-25
Bronze
Baptistry, Florence
 

 
 
 


North Doors (Life of Christ)

1403-24
Gilded bronze
Baptistry, Florence
 

 
 
 

Sacrifice of Isaac

1401
Bronze relief
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence
 
 
 
 

Pilate Washing His Hands

1403-24
Gilded bronze
Baptistry, Florence
 

Last Supper

1403-24
Gilded bronze, 39 x 39 cm
Baptistry, Florence
 

The Baptism of Christ

1427
Gilded bronze
S. Giovanni, Siena
 

 

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