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Lorenzo Ghiberti's North Door of the Florence Baptistery(1403-24)

Lorenzo Ghiberti

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
Mumbai, India

The North Door are also known as the Doors of the Cross. Ghiberti used the same quatrefoil format as Pisano and also has 28 quatrefoils arranged in 7 rows. The molding is framed with designs of fruits, animals and flora and has a prophet at each intersection. After winning the competition against Brunelleschi and other artists, the 20-year old Lorenzo Ghiberti, son of a goldsmith, was commissioned by the Guild of the Wool Merchants to create the doors for the Baptistry with scenes from the life of Christ. This was a highly complex enterprise which moved from preparatory drawings and models to the casting, chasing and gilding of the 28 bronze panels and the jambs. Ghiberti and his workshop fulfilled this task in some twenty years. The doors were put in place in 1424 and were immediately highly admired. In fact, they were first installed on the eastern side of the Baptistry, the most honorable position, where the doors are ceremonially opened only once a year on Easter Sunday. The narrative panels show an experimentation with new and dynamic concepts of narrative, still confined in the quatrefoil format established by the first doors created in the fourteenth century by Andrea Pisano. The success of Ghiberti’s work led to the commission of the Gates of Paradise in 1424 and their success, in turn, to the removal of his first doors to the north side of the Cathedral. From the first moment of the competition (1401) to the placement of his second doors (1452), Ghiberti had worked a full 50 years for the doors of the Baptistery, even if not exclusively.

Details

  • Title: Lorenzo Ghiberti's North Door of the Florence Baptistery(1403-24)
  • Creator: Digital reprint image on flex courtesy Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Replica courtesy The Frilli Gallery/Guild of the Dome Association, Florence, original creator Lorenzo Ghiberti
  • Location: Florence, Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: Digital reprint: 15 x 8.75 feet
  • Material: digital reprint on flex
  • Gallery: Courtesy The Frilli Gallery/Guild of the Dome Association, Florence, from the exhibition, 'The Florentine Renaissance: The City as the Crucible of Culture' at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai (March 30, 2014 - July 8, 2014)

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