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Lorenzo Ghiberti I have chosen Lorenzo Ghiberti and his “Gates of Paradise” to view and discuss. Lorenzo Ghiberti was born in Florence in 1378. He was one of the most important Italian sculptors in the Early Renaissance of Florence. As a sculptor he created bronze doors for the baptistery of the cathedral of Florence. This work of art took him more than twenty years to complete. In 1452 the doors were finished, each portraying five scenes from the Old Testament. The doors show a development toward naturalistic movement, volume and perspective. Ghiberti’s second pair of doors that he was commissioned to do was called the “Gates of Paradise”. These doors differed from the first set he had done. The “Gates of Paradise” were reliefs that were set in square frames. This allowed more space for the scenes to be portrayed. This style brought in the Early Renaissance point of view. This work also brought in a greater idealization of subject. Some Gothic style is still visible in the figures. The gentleness and gracefulness of them is a reminder of it. The story of Jacob and Esau, which is depicted on one of the panels, is interesting. The first thing that stood out was the figures. Unlike many sculptures on doors, most of the figures are reliefs. You can imagine that they are alive and moving in the scene. The panel has so much going on in it. On the far left three women are depicted. The way he sculpted them gives off so much expressionism and realism. You can see how one of the women’s backs is slightly arched backed because of the weight of her bundle on her head. The way the women in the center’s legs are depicted looks as if she is actually stepping into the conversation. The way the woman on the right is bending into the small circle gave me the impression that she perhaps is telling the other two women some sort of gossips she has. Their garments drape beautifully over the lines of their figures and enhance the movement they are making. Even their hair is realistically sculpted to their stance. In the center of the panel, another pictorial relief is found of an elder and a young man with a sheep. Alike with the women’s garments the elder man’s garment drapes over his body highlighting the bend in his arm. It looks as if he is telling the young man something because of the action of his pointed finger. The way the young boy’s left leg is slightly bent and his toes dragging gave me the impression that the older man possibly is scolding him. Even the way the boy is leaning back slightly gave me the impression. The lamb that is with the boy does not look very realistic. It looks as though it has more than four legs and the head is quite small compared to its body.

On the far right of the panel is the elder man again and the young boy joined by another male figure. The elder man is possibly blessing or baptizing the boy. Ghiberti truly made an art of the drapery of the garments; you can see the folds’ movement as it lies on the platform the elder man is sitting on. The other figure in this scene looks as if he is waiting for the elder to finish. The way he is holding his one arm and resting his head on it expresses so much emotion to viewer. There are so many scenes in this one panel that a story can be created. Nature is portrayed in the trees on the right and ridges in the mountain. On the top right you can see a carving of god coming out of the sky to a young man. Most of all the perspective that is created in the panel is out standing. Ghiberti illustrated the panel using the perspective to give it depth to as far as the eye could see if you were in the panel. The rounded arches are typical of the period and bring it into the Renaissance. I found this panel of the “Gates of Paradise” to be most intriguing. There was so many scenes occurring in it that it left me to imagine a number of stories being expressed. Ghiberti’s pictorial reliefs were so fascinating and unlike any other sculpture I had viewed that it left me with questions of how he created them. I truly loved the way he gave the figures movement and life through the clothing, the curves of the body and the gestures the figures were making.

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