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Lorenzo Ghiberti

Il Sacrificio di IsaccoLorenzo di Cione di ser Bonaccorto Ghiberti, was born in Florence in 1378. He trained as a goldsmith with Bartoluccio di Michele and started his artistic career painting a room in Palazzo Malatesta in Pesaro. He then limited his activity to carving in Florence.
In 1401 he joined the competition for the decoration of the second door of the baptistery of Florence and won it. The subject of the competition was a bronze tile showing the sacrifice of Isaac. In this work Ghiberti’s ties with previous styles are still evident, even if the shapes and the attention to detail are clearly a novelty. Isaac’s body is inspired by classical art and so is the balance of the composition.
To build the door, Ghiberti set up a whole workshop, where many important artists trained (Donatello, Paolo Uccello and Masolino da Panicale).
The door is made up of 28 four-lobed tiles depicting episodes of the life of Christ and the influence of Andrea Pisano’s art is evident.
Porta del ParadisoIn 1425 the artist received a commission for another door in the baptistry of Florence by the Guild of Merchants. It was later called ‘door of Heaven’. In ten of the door’s tiles Ghiberti decided to depict stories from the Old Testament.
There are clear differences between these tiles and the ones made previously, where he used the ‘stiacciato’ technique(distant objects and figures are in very low relief toachieve a better depth effect); the style of the spires and curves of the drapings is clearly gothic.
Other than decorating the baptistry doors, Ghiberti is the author of other works, such as the cartoons for the glass windows of the Duomo of Florence, the statue of St John the Baptist, the first bronze statue moulded in one piece (currently in a niche in Orsammichele), the statues of St Matthew and St Stephen in Orsammichele .
In 1427 he made the Three Martyrs’ Urn for Cosimo De' Medici (now in the National Museum of Florence); in 1442 he made the Ark of St Zanobi in the duomo.
Lorenzo Ghiberti died in Florence in 1455.