Lorenzo Ghiberti

Image by tim ellis via Flickr

Born on 1378 in Pelago (Florence) Italy, Lorenzo Ghiberti was an Italian artist who lived during the early Renaissance period. Best known for works in sculpture and metalworking, he was trained in the gold trade by his father, a trained artist and goldsmith. Ghiberti emigrated to Rimini after the bubonic plague struck Florence where he assisted in the completion of wall frescoes in the castle of Carlo I Malatesta.

In 1401 he became famous when he won a competition to design and create the first set of bronze doors for the Baptistery of the cathedral in Florence.  The doors would depict scenes from the new Testament. He set up a large workshop where he trained such artists as Donatello, Masolino, Michelozzo, Uccello, and Pollaiuolo. During this time, he re-invented the lost-wax casting that had been used since ancient Rome. Because of this innovation, his workshop was popular with young artists.

Ghiberti also worked on a second set of panels for a doorway in the Baptistery, which depicted scenes from the Old Testament. The style of these panels was more naturalistic, using perspective in creating the idealized subjects. They were dubbed the “Gates of Paradise” by Michelangelo and became known as a monument to the age of humanism.

Other of Ghiberti’s commissions included the execution of the gilded bronze statues of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Matthew for selected niches of the Orsanmichele in Florence. He also created a bronze figure of Saint Stephen for the Arte della Lana, the Wool Manufacturers’ Guild.

File:Firenze.Baptistry06.JPGFlorence Baptistry or Battisterio di San Giovanni

File:Ghiberticompetition.jpgGhiberti’s winning piece for the 1401 competition,  located on the north side of the baptistery. 

File:Paradies tuer florenz.jpgGates of Paradise (Porta del Paradiso)

File:Abraham (Gates of Paradise) 01.JPG

Angled view of a panel with the story of Abraham from the Gates of Paradise (Porta del Paradiso)

The Story of Isaac, Esau, and Jacob; Gates of Paradise (Porta del Paradiso), 1425-52

File:Orsanmichele, view from upfloor.JPGOrsanmichele or “Kitchen Garden of St Michael”

File:FirenzeOrsanmichele14.jpgSaint John the Baptist

File:Orsanmichele, san matteo di Ghiberti 02.JPGSaint Matthew

File:FirenzeOrsanmichele05.jpgSaint Stephen

File:Carlo Malatesta.jpgCarlo I Malatesta

Larger image - Castle MalatestianaCastle Malatestiana


Lorenzo Ghiberti     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorenzo_Ghiberti

Web Gallery of Art/Works of Lorenzo Ghiberti     http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/bio/g/ghiberti/biograph.html

Timeline for Lorenzo Ghiberti     http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=ghiberti#q=ghiberti&hl=en&prmd=ivnsb&tbs=tl:1&tbo=u&ei=4778TdXiDoHz0gGAhtiEAw&sa=X&oi=timeline_result&ct=title&resnum=17&ved=0CIQB

Florence Baptistery     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Baptistery

Orsanmichele     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orsanmichele