Lorenzo Ghiberti

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Lorenzo Ghiberti was born as Lorenzo di Bartolo in 1378 in Florence, Italy. His

mother’s second husband, Bartolo di Michele trained Lorenzo as a goldsmith. Ghiberti

also received training as a painter. According to his autobiography, he left Florence in

1400 to work with a painter in the town of Pesaro for its ruler, Sigismondo Malatesta.

His education as a goldsmith helped him create his greatest piece of work, “The Gates of



Ghiberti’s big break came when he went back to Florence in 1401 after hearing

that a competition was being held for the commision to make a pair of bronze doors for

the Baptistery of the cathedral in Florence. He beat Filippo Brunelleschi and Jacopo dellla

Quercia, as well as four other artists, to win the commision. He spent more than 20 years

to make the doors, but during that time he trained students and also concentrated on other

artwork. His students include Donatello and Paulo Uccello. Each door contains 14

quatrefoil-framed scenes from the lives of Christ, the Evangelists, and the church fathers.

He also made another set of doors for the Baptistery. These bronze doors had 5 panels on

each side, containing scenes from the Old Testament. They were dubbed “ The Gates of

Paradise,” by Michaelangelo, and were Ghiberti’s greatest work. Ghiberti also made a

larger than life statue of the Arte dei Mercani di Calimala’s(the guild of the merchant

bankers) patron saint. He made two large bronze figures for Or San Michele, created

designs for the stained glass windows in the cathedral, and wrote two books, as well as

accomplishing other things.


Ghiberti impacted the Renaissance in many ways. His work and writings formed

the basis for much of the style and aims of the later High Renaissance. He was actively

involved with other artists and was interested in their works. He influenced and trained

artists in his workshop. Some of his students included Donatello, Paulo Uccello,

Michelozzo, and Benozzo Gozzoli. Many artist took notice to his style. His works show

a development toward naturalistic movement, volume, perspective, and a greater

idealization of the subject, which influenced artists to be creative. Ghiberti was a well

respected gentlemen, and a major figure in Florentine society. He was rich and generous

to all, and never turned away a painter or person who needed help in any sort of way.

Title: Gates of Paradise

Subject: Religous architecture; contained scenes from the Old



The “Gates of Paradise” are Lorenzo Ghiberti’s greatest piece of work.
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