Ghiberti's Bronze Doors Descriptive Essay by McLearson

Ghiberti's Bronze Doors
A history and analysis of Lorenzo Ghiberti's bronze doors at the cathedral in Florence.
# 147793 | 1,655 words | 7 sources | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on Jul 08, 2011 in Art (Artists) , Art (History)

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The Renaissance is often said to have begun in 1401, when a competition was held for the commission of a set of bronze panels for the doors of the baptistery of the cathedral of Florence. Lorenzo Ghiberti's winning entry, and his realization of two projects over the course of fifty years at the cathedral are emblematic of the shift in style that marks the early Renaissance. The essay examines this transition from late Gothic to early Renaissance style, including new attention to anatomy and the turn to Classical Antiquity for subject matter. It offers detailed analysis of the content and form of Ghiberti's bronzes on the North Doors as well as his second project on the Paradise Doors.

From the Paper:

"In 1398, the Florentine conflict with the Visconti ended in a truce, and the bourgeoisie oligarchy, led by the Calimala guild, was eager to give expression to its democratic ideology. The now-famous competition for the Baptistery doors was announced in 1401, eventually short-listing seven candidates including Jacopo della Quercia, Francesco di Valdambrino, Nicolo Lamberti, Brunelleschi, and Ghiberti, though only the entries of the last two survive. These reliefs vary little stylistically, but Ghiberti's entry displays more fluid and effective organization of the stipulated figures compared to Brunelleschi's cluttered composition. Perhaps more importantly, Ghiberti stands out as having a greater gift for narrative and psychological penetration. He has his extremely foreshortened angel flying into the scene from the background, just in time to stop the sacrifice. Abraham's raised arm and stern gaze manage to suggest both his determination and sorrow, while Isaac recoils from the knife and suddenly looks up to see the angel."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Avery, Charles. Florentine Renaissance Sculpture. John Murray: London, 1977.
  • Goldscheider, Ludwig. Ghiberti. Phaidon: London, 1949.
  • Krautheimer, Richard. Ghiberti's Bronze Doors. Princeton University Press: Princeton, 1971.
  • Paolucci, Antonio. The Origins of Renaissance Art: The Baptistery Doors of Florence. Trans. Francoise Pouncey Chiarini. George Braziller: New York, 1996.
  • Pope-Hennessy, John. The Study and Criticism of Italian Sculpture. Princeton University Press: Princeton, 1980.

Cite this Descriptive Essay:

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