Filippo Brunelleschi

by: Madison Huffman


Filippo Brunelleschi was born in 1377 to an unknown mother and an eminent notary, in the beautiful city of Florence, Italy. His early life is a mystery, but it is known that he spent his entire life in Florence. At the age of twenty one, in 1398, he began his career as a goldsmith. He was employed by a goldsmith and through his training made several figures for the altar of St. James in the cathedral. In 1404 he was even admitted as master to the goldsmiths’ guild in Florence. And later that year he was consulted regarding a buttress of the Cathedral. Throughout his life, Brunelleschi made several trips to Rome to survey its ancient monuments. Rome and Ancient Greece were a big influence on him and his work. Along with these great influences he had other supporters, in his patrons. Cosimo de'Medici was a big supporter in his work, and was there while he was constructing the Great Dome. Andrea Pazzi was another patron, and appointed him for work with the Pazzi Chapel. Lastly, there was Scolari. He was another one of his patrons that took on Brunelleschi in the building of the Angeli Rotonda. Brunelleschi was an Italian architect, sculptor, and goldsmith. Today he is remembered as the first modern engineer and for being incredibly innovative. Brunelleschi has created many architectural pieces that are still very well known in the present day. For example, the Great Dome of the Florentine Cathedral, the Pazzi Chapel, and the Rotonda del Brunelleschi. They are all incredibly popular, as Brunelleschi put much of his work towards these main pieces.

Great Dome of the Florentine Cathedral

The Dome of Florence, Santa Maria del Fiore is arguably Brunelleschi's greatest architectural achievement, and is considered the Renaissance's main building enterprise. Construction of the dome began in 1420 and finally finished in 1436. Taking a total of sixteen years to build! The dome is a large structure sitting on the top of a cathedral, with a pointed top and cross. It is filled with beautiful artwork on the inside, covering the spiral of bricks. I feel this piece is very interesting. The artwork spinning around the inside of the dome is magnificent, and compliments the dome beautifully. New, creative ideas were used in the making of this piece of architecture and I find that very interesting, as in those days they did not have many of the resources that we have today to create pieces of that stature and size. This piece is significant because many people were skeptical of how it would turn out. Since it is a dome the way it had to be constructed was different then other buildings. Many people jumped to conclusions by thinking it was going to fall and turn out unsuccessful. Brunelleschi had to find new artistic and creative ways of creating the dome in a way that the roof would not cave in on everyone. The dome represents scientific naturalism, as it creates perspective, along with many other pieces of work done by Brunelleschi. Today, the dome still stands as beautifully as it had when it was created and you can find it located in Florence, Italy, the birthplace of Brunelleschi.


"Filippo Brunelleschi." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998.Biography in Context. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.

"Filippo Brunelleschi." 2013. The Biography Channel website. Nov 18 2013,

Florence Cathedral, Exterior, Dome. 1436. Photograph. Florence, Italy, Florence.

Santa Maria Del Fiore (Cathedral : Florence, Italy). 1436. Photograph. Florence, Italy, Florence.

Chapel of the Pazzi Family. 1430. Photograph. Florence, Italy, Florence.

S. Maria Degli Angeli (Rome, Italy); Rotunda of the Dome. 1437. Photograph. Rome, Italy, Rome.