The Works of Lorenzo Ghiberti

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The works of Lorenzo Ghiberti stand as an inheritance to the Classical style of the Greco-Roman period. Ghiberti's use of Classical methods is by nature the stylistic core of Renaissance Humanism. His works illustrated, during the Italian Renaissance, the principles of Humanism through sculpture. With the creation of Humanism, the thought of humans as being responsible for their potential and consequences combined religion with the need to improve on the individual. Three of Ghiberti's pieces that exemplify this are The East Doors of the Florence Baptistry, the Bronze statue Saint Matthew at Orsanmichele, and the Panel of Pilate washing his hands from the North Door of the Baptistry. To begin, the East Doors express the human need for higher moral ideals with biblical scenes. Second, the sculpture of Saint Matthew combines the heavenly with the tangible and earthly, which is the aim of Humanism. Lastly, the panel of Pilate washing his hands serves as an allegory for taking responsibility and not turning away from religion.

One of the central aspects of Humanism was to positively influence the populace in order to help them achieve their various potentials, both academically and spiritually. In order to accomplish this, many Renaissance works exemplified Biblical heroes and characters of particular moral character in order to guide the viewer toward the emulation of these higher ideals. This aspect of Humanism is clearly evident in Ghiberti's East Door of the Florence Baptistry. In this piece he has made use of a number of methods which are reminiscent of the Classical period of sculpture. In the East doors (also commonly known as the Gates of Paradise) Ghiberti created ten panels using scenes from the Old Testament. He uses...

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...y and potential as well as the possible consequences of not making full use of mortal abilities.

In conclusion, these works by Lorenzo Ghiberti exemplify Humanism through various forms of sculpture. They demonstrate the principles and aims of Humanism through form, structure, and intent. The East doors glorify humanism while expressing the triumphs and follies of man through various poses and dimensional effects. Saint Matthew of Orsanmichele places the ethereal in tangible form for all to witness and works as a reminder that those below are being watched by those above while expressing a certain unity between both. The panel of the North door of Pilate washing his hands speaks of the need to take responsibility and do everything possible to prevent the preventable. These works exemplify the goal of Humanism in physical form and express the ideals of the human soul.

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