Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Ghiberti, Lorenzo from Philip's Encyclopedia

Italian sculptor, goldsmith, architect, painter, and writer; a major transitional figure between the late Gothic and Renaissance worlds. He made two pairs of bronze doors for the Baptistery in Florence. One pair, the 'Doors of Paradise', is considered his masterpiece.


Summary Article: Ghiberti, Lorenzo from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Italian sculptor and goldsmith. In 1402 he won the commission for a pair of gilded bronze doors for the baptistry of Florence's cathedral. He produced a second pair 1425–52, the Gates of Paradise, one of the masterpieces of the early Italian Renaissance. They show a sophisticated use of composition and perspective, and the influence of classical models. Around 1450 he wrote Commentarii/Commentaries, the earliest surviving autobiography of an artist and an important source of information on the art of his time.

Although Ghiberti had other commissions, the work on the bronze doors of the baptistry of the cathedral of Sta Maria del Fiore in Florence occupied him throughout his working life. The first set, the North Doors, on which he worked for over 20 years, consists of 28 panels of gilded bronze representing New Testament scenes. While showing an awareness of Renaissance innovation, these scenes retain a strong element of International Gothic. Soon after their completion in 1424 he began on the East Doors, on which he worked for 27 years. Also of gilded bronze, they consist of ten much larger panels of Old Testament scenes. In these panels Renaissance features are much stronger.

Ghiberti was born in Florence and trained as a goldsmith. It was Michelangelo, who greatly admired Ghiberti's work, who called the East Gates ‘the gates of paradise’, the name by which they are now generally known. Ghiberti's other important commissions include the statues of St Matthew, St John the Baptist, and St Stephen (1414–17) for the church of Orsanmichele, Florence.

images

Ghiberti, Lorenzo, bronze doors

© RM, 2016. All rights reserved.

Related Credo Articles

Full text Article Ghiberti Lorenzo (1378 - 1455)
A Biographical Dictionary of Artists, Andromeda

Lorenzo Ghiberti was the major Florentine sculptor of the early Renaissance. His autobiography (the first to be left by a Western...

Full text Article Ghiberti, Lorenzo (c. 1378 - 1455)
The Bloomsbury Guide to Art

He was Florentine and first came to prominence as winner of the 1401 competition for a set of bronze doors to the Florence...

Full text Article Ghiberti, Lorenzo (1378 - 1455)
The Encyclopaedia of the Renaissance

Unlike many other Florentine sculptors, Ghiberti, who trained as a goldsmith, specialized exclusively in bronze casting. The...

See more from Credo