Lorenzo Ghiberti Virtual Museum

By: Liam O'Connell

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When and where was your Renaissance artist born?

In 1378, Pelago, Italy.

Where did he spend most of his life?

Lorenzo spent most of his life in Florence, Italy. He trained and completed his projects in this famed city.


Lorenzo Ghiberti trained in the workshop of his stepfather, Bartolucci, he then worked in Florence as a goldsmith and a painter. In 1392, he was admitted to the "Silk and Gold" Guild as an apprentice, and by 1398, had passed his examination to become a guild master goldsmith. In 1400, he traveled to Rimini to escape the plague in Florence and received further training as a painter, assisting in the completion of wall frescoes at the Castle of Carlo I Malatesta.


He was first trained as a painter but now is more famous for his sculptures. Ghiberti made many contributions to the formation of the architectural manner of early Renaissance Florence. A child prodigy, he received his first commission at age 23. Ghiberti multi-tasked much of his work including the doors for the Florence baptistery and numerous statues. He was a student of humanism and incorporated much of its philosophy into his work.

What type of art did he create?

He created sculptures, and one of his well-known pieces of work was a second set of bronze doors for the Baptistery of Florence Cathedra, “Gates of Paradise” (1425-52).

Ghiberti also constructed bronze doors in International Gothic style for Baptistery of Florence Cathedral (1403-24), and three bronze statues for San Michele, Florence (1412-28). In 1412, the Arte di Calimala gave him another commission: to make a larger-than-life-sized bronze statue of their patron saint, John the Baptist, outside the guild's communal building, Or San Michele.

Who were his patrons?

In 1401, Lorenzo Ghiberti began work for a commission sponsored by the Arte di Calimala (Cloth Importers Guild) to make a pair of bronze doors for the Baptistery of Florence. These patrons were people who wanted to construct cathedrals and pay him to construct the architectural designs within it.

Which of the “isms” or Renaissance ideals are most closely linked to this person?

Lorenzo uses perspectivism in the Gates of Paradise as he uses 3D to make the designs come to life. He also uses idealism in St. John the Baptist, because John is perfectly sculpted with no flaws in his appearance. And lastly, classicism for the his symmetrical and great detailed work.

PART 2: RENAISSANCE WORK- The gates of paradise

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What is the name of the piece?

The second set of doors in the Baptistery of Florence Cathedral named the “Gates of Paradise” by Michaelangelo.

When was the piece created?

This piece was created by Lorenzo from 1425-52.

Where might you see this piece today?

The Gates of Paradise is the main gate of the Baptistry of Florence (Battistero di San Giovanni), located in front of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

What was so significant about this piece? Were there any new techniques used in the creation of this piece?

He influenced Renaissance sculptural relief, and known for spacial perfection. “The Gates of Paradise” were created using what is called the lost-wax technique, in which a detailed wax model is imbedded in a fire-resistant clay mold. The wax melts when the mold is fired; then liquid bronze is poured into the mold where the wax had been. Ghiberti cast the individual panels in bronze and then gilded each section before inserting it into the giant doors.

Describe the piece in your own words

This great work of art depicts the stories of Adam and Eve, Jacob and Esau, and David and Goliath. The panels offer viewers a vision of Ghiberti's artistic genius and the perspectival solutions he invented for his narrative panels. Each wing of the Gates of Paradise contains five large rectangular reliefs of scenes from the Old Testament between figurated borders containing statues in niches and medallions with busts. Their format differs completely from the traditional medieval quatrefoils of the other doors.

Which “ism” or Renaissance ideal is most closely linked to this piece?

Ghiberti explored and expanded the utility of linear perspective to create believable, atmospheric, and deep settings for his biblical dramas.

Why do YOU find this piece so interesting?

This piece uses elaborate detail throughout the entire project. Ghiberti spent 27 years and I thought it was cool that he dedicated so much of his time to the Gates of Paradise. He also used new innovative techniques to make this piece. These doors are also very unique and there are different stories told. Lastly, it still stands today and is preserved.

Where to see pictures of this piece and some background on it

Works Cited

Works Cited

"Baptistry of San Giovanni and the Gates of Paradise." Baptistry of San Giovanni and the Gates of Paradise. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2015.

Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2015.

"Gates of Paradise Behind Bars • Firenza, Italia • Battistero Di San Giovanni • Lorenzo


Gates of Paradise." Gates of Paradise Behind Bars • Firenza, Italia • Battistero Di San

Giovanni • Lorenzo Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2015.

"Images of St. John the Baptist, Ghiberti, 1412-16." Digital Imaging Project: Art Historical

Images of European and North American Architecture and Sculpture from Classical

Greek to Post-modern. Web. 04 Dec. 2015.

"Photos." Florence, Italy. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2015.

"Tuscany Vacation Villas." Villas Pelago. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2015.

Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2015.