Ghiberti, Lorenzo


Ghiberti, Lorenzo
(1378-1455)
   One of the leading sculptors of the Early Renaissance. Trained as a goldsmith, Ghiberti was also a writer. His Commentarii of c. 1447-1448 is an autobiography, the first written by an artist, that also includes analysis of earlier artwork. Ghiberti's career was launched when he entered the competition in 1401 for the execution of the east doors of the Baptistery of Florence (1403-1424) meant to harmonize with the south doors created earlier by Andrea Pisano. Ghiberti's Sacrifice of Isaac won him the competition as its classicized visual vocabulary was well suited for current tastes. Ghiberti spent two decades executing the east doors, now the north portals of the Baptistery.
   From c. 1412 to 1416, Ghiberti was occupied with the statue of St. John the Baptist for one of the niches of Orsanmichele, Florence, a commission he received from the Arte della Calimala, the Guild of Refiners of Imported Woolen Cloth. Then the largest statue to be cast in bronze in Florence, the figure combines classical and Gothic elements. Here, Ghiberti depicted the saint to look like a living, breathing individual who stands in contrapposto, his intense gaze adding an aura of spiritual strength. While its verism was inspired by Greco-Roman prototypes, the sway in the saint's pose, the massive, undulating folds of his drapery, and the large clumps of hair and beard, all point to Gothic precedents. Not to be outdone by the Calimala, the Arte di Cambio (the Florentine Guild of Bankers) commissioned Ghiberti to execute for them the statue of St. Matthew also at Orsan-michele (1419-1421), stipulating that its size should equal that of the St. John the Baptist. Like Ghiberti's earlier statue, St. Matthew stands in elegant contrapposto, wears classical garb, and features an intense gaze, his Gospel book opened and turned to the viewer.
   From 1417 to 1427, Ghiberti was also working on relief panels for the baptismal font in the Cathedral of Siena to which Donatello and Jacopo della Quercia also contributed scenes from the story of the Baptist. Ghiberti's Baptism of Christ for the font presents an all' antica rendition of the subject. All vestiges of Gothicism have been shed, including the heavy, undulating folds of the drapery. Instead, the figures are idealized, their draperies clinging to reveal the details of their anatomy. The extended arm of the Baptist, the clouds above the figures, and the angels who witness the event form an arched canopy above Christ to denote the religious significance of the event depicted that resulted in the establishment of baptism as a sacrament. The depth of carving in this work diminishes as the compositional elements move away from the foreground, as they do in the ancient Greco-Roman reliefs Ghiberti evidently studied.
   In 1425, Ghiberti received the commission for the final set of doors for the Baptistery of Florence. These are usually referred to as the Gates of Paradise (1425-1452) as they face the walkway leading to the cathedral, called theparadiso in Italian. The term was coined by Michelangelo who felt that Ghiberti's work was worthy of such an appellation. Ghiberti was responsible for inaugurating a new phase in Renaissance sculpture, one that depended on classical precedents and that established the visual language of the era.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ghiberti, Lorenzo — born с 1378, Pelago died Dec. 1, 1455, Florence Italian sculptor, goldsmith, and designer active in Florence. He was trained as a goldsmith and painter. In 1402 he won a competition for the commission to make a pair of bronze doors for the… …   Universalium

  • Ghiberti, Lorenzo — (1378 1455)    Florentine goldsmith and sculptor, known in his own time for his skill in casting bronze statues. His workshop trained a number of leading younger artists, notably Donatello and Paolo Uccello. Though trained as a goldsmith, he… …   Historical Dictionary of Renaissance

  • Ghiberti,Lorenzo — Ghi·ber·ti (gē bĕrʹtē), Lorenzo. 1378? 1455. Florentine sculptor whose series of bronze panels Gates of Paradise (1425 1452) for the doors of the baptistery of Florence Cathedral are among the greatest works of early Renaissance art. * * * …   Universalium

  • Ghiberti, Lorenzo — ► (1378 1455) Escultor, pintor y orfebre renacentista italiano. Autor de dos de las cuatro monumentales puertas de bronce del baptisterio de Florencia, la septentrional y la oriental. Como fundidor de bronce construyó el relicario de san Jacinto… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • GHIBERTI, LORENZO —    an Italian sculptor and designer, born at Florence; his first notable work was a grand fresco in the palace of Malatesta at Rimini in 1400, but his most famous achievement, which immortalised his name, was the execution of two doorways, with… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Ghiberti, Lorenzo di Cione — • Sculptor; b. at Florence about 1381; d. there, December, 1455 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Ghiberti — Ghiberti, Lorenzo …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Ghiberti — Lorenzo Ghiberti Die Paradiestür in Florenz Lorenzo Ghiberti (* um 1378 in Pelago; † 1. Dezember 1455 in Florenz) war italienischer Goldschmied …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Lorenzo di Cione Ghiberti —     Lorenzo di Cione Ghiberti     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Lorenzo di Cione Ghiberti     Sculptor; b. at Florence about 1381; d. there, December, 1455. He ushered in the early Renaissance in his native city of Florence as a sculptor in bronze,… …   Catholic encyclopedia

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