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See study by R. Krautheimer (2d ed. 1970).
Born about 1381 in Florence, died there Dec. 1, 1455. Italian sculptor and jeweler of the early Renaissance.
Ghiberti worked in Florence and in Siena (1416-17), Venice (1424-25), and Rome (up to 1416 and about 1430). His early works were bronze reliefs (mainly Gospel scenes) on the north, or second, baptistery doors (1404-24) in Florence and the bronze statues of St. John the Baptist (1412-15), Matthew (1419-22), and Stephen (1425-29) in the Or San Michele Church in Florence; they have preserved their medieval ornateness and jewel-like delicacy. The connection with medieval art is also revealed in the relief compositions, whose spatial closeness is dictated by the four-petal frames (quatrefoils). During his mature period, Ghiberti came under the influence of Donatello and F. Brunelleschi. From 1425 to 1452, while Ghiberti was working on the east, or third, doors of the Florentine baptistery, his work came under the influence of the principles of Renaissance art. This work, the most important by Ghiberti, consists often reliefs representing biblical scenes against a background of architectural forms and landscapes. The work is notable for its poetic and lifelike forms and for the plastic richness of the surroundings and the human figures. The use of the knowledge of antique art and the discoveries of his contemporaries in the area of linear perspective, as well as the virtuosity of the treatment of the material in creating the finest relief gradations from the highest to the lowest, lend Ghiberti’s compositions spatial depth, rhythmic multiplicity of images, and a musical fluidity of lines. Ghiberti also created the reliefs on the baptistery font in Siena (bronze, 1417-27). No examples of Ghiberti’s work as a jeweler have been preserved.
WORKSCommentarii, 1447-1455 (manuscript).
Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Denkwürdigkeiten (I Commentarii) … , vols. 1-2. Edited by J. von Schlosser. Berlin, 1912. Incomplete Russian translation: Commentarii: Zapiski ob ital’ianskom iskusstve. Annotated and with a preface by A. Guber. Moscow, 1938.