Lorenzo Ghiberti

Lorenzo Ghiberti

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Lorenzo Ghiberti'
Start a new discussion about 'Lorenzo Ghiberti'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Lorenzo Ghiberti born Lorenzo di Bartolo, was an Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 artist of the early Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 best known for works in sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

 and metalworking
Metalworking
Metalworking is the process of working with metals to create individual parts, assemblies, or large scale structures. The term covers a wide range of work from large ships and bridges to precise engine parts and delicate jewelry. It therefore includes a correspondingly wide range of skills,...

.

Early life


Ghiberti was born in Pelago
Pelago
Pelago is a comune in the Province of Florence in the Italian region Tuscany, located about 20 km east of Florence. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 7,396 and an area of 54.8 km²....

 (Florence). His father was Bartoluccio Ghiberti, a trained artist and goldsmith, who trained his son in the gold trade. Lorenzo Ghiberti then went to work in the workshop of Bartoluccio de Michele, where Brunelleschi
Filippo Brunelleschi
Filippo Brunelleschi was one of the foremost architects and engineers of the Italian Renaissance. He is perhaps most famous for inventing linear perspective and designing the dome of the Florence Cathedral, but his accomplishments also included bronze artwork, architecture , mathematics,...

 also got his training. When the bubonic plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

 struck Florence in 1400, Ghiberti emigrated to Rimini
Rimini
Rimini is a medium-sized city of 142,579 inhabitants in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, and capital city of the Province of Rimini. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, on the coast between the rivers Marecchia and Ausa...

, where he assisted in the completion of wall fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

es of the castle of Carlo I Malatesta
Carlo I Malatesta
Carlo I Malatesta was an Italian condottiero during the Wars in Lombardy and lord of Rimini, Fano, Cesena and Pesaro...

.

Career


Ghiberti first became famous when he won the 1401 competition for the first set of bronze doors for the Baptistery
Battistero di San Giovanni (Florence)
The Florence Baptistry or Battistero di San Giovanni is a religious building in Florence , Italy, which has the status of a minor basilica....

 of the cathedral in Florence. Brunelleschi
Filippo Brunelleschi
Filippo Brunelleschi was one of the foremost architects and engineers of the Italian Renaissance. He is perhaps most famous for inventing linear perspective and designing the dome of the Florence Cathedral, but his accomplishments also included bronze artwork, architecture , mathematics,...

 was the runner up. The original plan was for the doors to depict scenes from the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

, and the trial piece was the sacrifice of Isaac
Binding of Isaac
The Binding of Isaac Akedah or Akeidat Yitzchak in Hebrew and Dhabih in Arabic, is a story from the Hebrew Bible in which God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah...

. However, the plan was changed to depict scenes from the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, instead.

To carry out this commission, he set up a large workshop in which many artists trained, including Donatello
Donatello
Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi , also known as Donatello, was an early Renaissance Italian artist and sculptor from Florence...

, Masolino, Michelozzo
Michelozzo
thumb|250px|[[Palazzo Medici]] in Florence.Michelozzo di Bartolomeo Michelozzi was an Italian architect and sculptor.-Biography:...

, Uccello, and Antonio Pollaiuolo
Antonio Pollaiuolo
Antonio del Pollaiolo , also known as Antonio di Jacopo Pollaiuolo or Antonio Pollaiolo, was an Italian painter, sculptor, engraver and goldsmith during the Renaissance.-Biography:...

. Ghiberti had re-invented the lost-wax casting  (cire perdute) of bronze-casting as it was used by the ancient Romans. This made his workshop so special to young artists.

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. They were more naturalistic, with perspective and a greater idealization of the subject. Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

 dubbed these scenes the "Gates of Paradise." "The Gates of Paradise" is known to be a monument to the age of humanism.

He was then commissioned to execute monumental gilded bronze statues to be placed within select niches of the Orsanmichele
Orsanmichele
Orsanmichele is a church in the Italian city of Florence...

 in Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

, one of Saint John the Baptist
St. John the Baptist (Ghiberti)
St. John the Baptist 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...

 for the Arte di Calimala
Arte di Calimala
The Arte di Calimala, the guild of the cloth finishers and merchants in foreign cloth, was one of the greater guilds of Florence, the Arti Maggiori, who arrogated to themselves the civic power of the Republic of Florence during the Late Middle Ages...

(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).

End of life


He was also a collector of classical artifacts and a historian. He was actively involved in the spreading of humanist
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 ideas. His unfinished Commentarii are a valuable source of information about Renaissance art and contain an autobiography, the first of an artist. This work was a major source for Vasari's Vite. Ghiberti died in Florence at the age of seventy-seven.

Renaissance Perspective



Prior to the Renaissance, a clearly modern optical basis of perspective was given in the period between 1028 and 1038, when the Arab polymath Alhazen (al-Hasan Ibn al-Haytham, d. ca. 1041 CE) in his Book of Optics
Book of Optics
The Book of Optics ; ; Latin: De Aspectibus or Opticae Thesaurus: Alhazeni Arabis; Italian: Deli Aspecti) is a seven-volume treatise on optics and other fields of study composed by the medieval Muslim scholar Alhazen .-See also:* Science in medieval Islam...

(Kitab al-manazir; known in Latin as De aspectibus or Perspectiva), explained that light
Light
Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye, and is responsible for the sense of sight. Visible light has wavelength in a range from about 380 nanometres to about 740 nm, with a frequency range of about 405 THz to 790 THz...

 projects conically into the eye, discussing perspective. By the 14th century, Alhazen's Book of Optics was available in Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 translation, entitled Deli Aspecti, and Ghiberti relied heavily upon this work, quoting it "verbatim and at length" while framing his account of art and its aesthetic imperatives in the “Commentario terzo.” Alhazen’s work was thus "central to the development of Ghiberti’s thought about art and visual aesthetics" and "may well have been central to the development of artificial perspective in early Renaissance Italian painting."

Ghiberti's “Commentario terzo” includes the earliest surviving autobiography of an artist and he discusses the development of art from the time of Cimabue
Cimabue
Cimabue , also known as Bencivieni di Pepo or in modern Italian, Benvenuto di Giuseppe, was an Italian painter and creator of mosaics from Florence....

 through to his own work. In describing his second bronze gate, 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." Paolo Uccello
Paolo Uccello
Paolo Uccello , born Paolo di Dono, was an Italian painter and a mathematician who was notable for his pioneering work on visual perspective in art. Giorgio Vasari in his book Lives of the Artists wrote that Uccello was obsessed by his interest in perspective and would stay up all night in his...

, who was commonly regarded as the first great master of perspective, worked in Ghiberti's workshop for several years, so it became difficult to determine the extent to which Uccello's innovations in perspective were due to Ghiberti's instruction. Donatello
Donatello
Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi , also known as Donatello, was an early Renaissance Italian artist and sculptor from Florence...

, known for one of the first examples of central-point perspective in sculpture, also worked briefly 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
Filippo Brunelleschi
Filippo Brunelleschi was one of the foremost architects and engineers of the Italian Renaissance. He is perhaps most famous for inventing linear perspective and designing the dome of the Florence Cathedral, but his accomplishments also included bronze artwork, architecture , mathematics,...

, 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.

External links