The Contest Of Brunelleschi And Ghiberti

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In 1401, there was a competition for artists to enter in a design for the doors of the baptistery that would be facing Florence Cathedral. The two surviving entries come from Filippo Brunelleschi and Lorenzo Ghiberti. Both made a bronze quatrefoil scene using foreshortening, typology, and classical references. Of these two entries, one was chosen the winner. The winner was none other than the youngest artist in the competition, Lorenzo Ghiberti. Ghiberti should have won in my opinion. Personally, I just enjoy his bronze quatrefoil work more than I enjoy Brunelleschi’s. His work “emphasized grace and smoothness,” (Kleiner, 543) and while there are Gothic elements, some of the figures, Isaac especially, resemble that of Greco-Roman artwork. The way Ghiberti depicted the mountain in the foreground and employed the use of perspective in his work to create such detail is astounding. This is not to say that Brunelleschi’s work was bad, either. In my opinion, I felt that his work was harsher than Ghiberti’s. The amount of skill that went into the works is another obvious example of who the winner should have been. Despite his young age, Ghiberti was able to cast his piece in only two pieces, as opposed to Brunelleschi, whose piece was cast in several pieces. This meant that the piece was lighter and weighed down less on the door, and cost less to produce. Overall, I agree with the course of history this time, and agree that Ghiberti’s piece was worthy of winning the baptistery door contest. If I were a judge at the contest at the time, I would have voted wholeheartedly for Ghiberti as well. Kleiner, Fred P. Gardiner's Art Through the Ages. Thomson Wadsworth: Boston,

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