Lorenzo Ghiberti

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LORENZO GHIBERTI
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Name: Lorenzo Ghiberti
Born: 1378
Home town: Florence
Died: 1 December 1455
Position: Sculptor, goldsmith
Famous for: The Gates of Paradise
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LORENZO GHIBERTI BIO
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Born in Florence, Lorenzo's father was Bartoluccio Ghiberti, a trained goldsmith and artist who also trained his son the gold trade. After his training he went to work in the workshop of Bartoluccio de Michele who was also training Brunelleschi. Lorenzo emigrated to Rimini when the bubonic plague hit Florence in 1400. In Rimini he assisted in the wall frescoes of the castle of Carlo I Malatesta.

Fame came to Ghiberti in 1401 when he entered a competition for the first set of bronze doors for the
Baptistery of Florence Cathedral. Brunelleschi came runner up to Ghiberti's first. The original plan for the doors was to depict scenes from the Old Testament with the Sacrifice of Isaac being the trial piece. However, the plans were changed to depict scenes from the New Testament instead.

To carry out this commission, he set up a large workshop in which many artists trained, including Donatello, Masolino, Michelozzo, Uccello and Antonio Pollaiuolo. Ghiberti had reinvented 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 were 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 the first set. Instead of twenty eight , Ghiberti produced ten rectangular scenes in a different style completely. These proved to be more naturalistic with perspective and a greater idealisation of the subject. Michelangelo dubbed these scenes "Gates of Paradise". These doors are known to a monument to the age of humanism.


He was later commissioned to execute monumental gilded bronze statues to be placed within select niches of the Orsanmichele in Florence.

Ghiberti was also a collector of classical artifacts and a historian. He was actively involved the the spreading of humanist ideas. His unfinished Commentarii are a valuable source of information about
the Renaissance Art and contain an autobiography, the first of an artist. This work was a major source for Vasari's Vite.


Lorenzo Ghiberti died in Florence at the age of seventy seven.



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