Renaissance Essay

1488 WordsFeb 5, 20136 Pages
Total Word Count: 1,486 words Chapter 12 In Florence 1401, what was the contest about? A famous competition was announced in 1401 for the right to decorate the doors of the Florence Baptistery, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist and a focal point of Florentine life. The baptistery is an ancient octagonal Romanesque building which, in the fifteenth century, had such a reputation for antiquity that some though it had originally been a Roman temple. The assigned subject for the competition was the biblical scene of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22:1-14). The competitors had to recreate that moment on a bronze relief quatrefoil frame panel, which then the judges would vote on the best panel to see who gets to decorate the doors of the Florence Baptistery. Who were the 2 major competitors? Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1466) and Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455). Who won? Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455) Why? If you compare the panels, Brunelleschi’s version has a certain vigor, but it is busy and crowded composition. The figures of the servants spill out of the four-leaf or quatrefoil frame, whereas the major figures (the ram, the angel, and the two principals) are in flattened two-dimensional profile with little background space. Ghiberti’s version on the same subject is divided dramatically by a slashing diagonal line stretching the two sets of actors into clearly designated planes of action. The drastically foreshortened angel appears to be flying into the scene from deep space. Furthermore, as a close examination of the cast shows, Ghiberti’s panel is a technical tour de force. Except for the figure of Isaac and Abraham’s left foot (and part of the rock it rests on), the entire scene was cast as a single unit. Demonstrating his strong background as a goldsmith, Ghiberti finely modeled and skillfully finished his panel. It is a piece of fierce

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