Lorenzo Ghiberti (Italian: [loˈrɛntso ɡiˈbɛrti]) (1378 – 1 December 1455), born Lorenzo di Bartolo, was a Florentine Italian artist of the Early Renaissance best known as the creator of the bronze doors of the Florence Baptistery, called by Michelangelo the Gates of Paradise. Trained as a goldsmith and sculptor, he established an important workshop for sculpture in metal. His book of Commentaricontains important writing on art, as well as what may be the earliest surviving autobiography by any artist.
Dan Brown writes:
Crafted of gilded bronze and over fifteen feet tall, the doors had taken Lorenzo Ghiberti more than twenty years to complete. They were adorned with ten intricate panels of delicate biblical figures of such quality that Giorgio Vasari had called the doors “undeniably perfect in every way and … the finest masterpiece ever created.
It had been Michelangelo, however, whose gushing testimonial had provided the doors with a nickname that endured even today. Michelangelo had proclaimed them so beautiful as to be fit for use … as the Gates of Paradise.
The bible in bronze, Langdon thought, admiring the beautiful doors before them.
Ghiberti’s shimmering Gates of Paradise consisted of ten square panels, each depicting an important scene from the Old Testament. Ranging from the Garden of Eden to Moses to King Solomon’s Temple, Ghiberti’s sculpted narrative unfolded across two vertical columns of five panels each.
- Inferno, Chapters 53 – 54
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