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Travel in time: Renaissance in Florence

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Where in time are we going?

It’s not a philosophical question, just an intro to my story. Renaissance is a period that started in the late 14th century and lasted until the 16th. This is a term that stands for progress in any way. If the "Dark Ages" is an historical period traditionally referring to the Middle Ages, for sure we can say that Renaissance is the sun that vanished the darkness. Reborn or Rinascita(it.) stands for the most fruitful period of the history of art and architecture. Are you ready for a travel in time and to find out how everything started?

Is the entrance to the Renaissance actually a door?

It all started with a challenge. A contest announced by the Arte di Calimala (Cloth Importers Guild); who would be the one to finish the doors of the Florence Baptistery? Lorenzo Ghiberti was a Florentine Italian artist, and the creator of the winning proposal for the bronze doors of the Florence Baptistery. His second design submission for those doors was actually the one that changed the path of the art in an historical way. Later, Michelangelo named this piece of art "the Gates of Paradise’’. It took Ghiberti over 20 years to complete these doors.

These gilded bronze doors consist of ten panels. On these panels, the beginning of the Renaissance is visible through vividly presented self-standing figures and certain efforts for a perspective view. The Gates of Paradise situated in the Baptistry today, are actually a copy of the originals. They were substituted in 1990, in order to preserve the panels after 500 years or more of exposure and damage. The originals have been restored and kept in a dry environment, and specifically in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. Some of the original panels are being presented in the museum; the remaining original panels are being restored and cleaned using lasers in Lieu of potentially damaging chemical baths. Cool, right?

Another very important artist took part in the previously mentioned competition. I recommend you to memorise this name, since we, as a civilisation, owe a lot to him. Filippo Brunelleschi, the first modern engineer, planner, and sole construction supervisor. He is the designer and executioner of the famous dome of the church of Santa Maria Del Fiore. The story of the symbol of Florence is very romantic and brings in mind a Disney story.

This one is about a marvellous church that waits for 150 years to be matched with its perfect dome. What a love story! Thanks to Brunelleschi, the cathedral in Florence got its spectacular ending, the dome. The main figure in the Florence silhouette was built by 4 million bricks and took 15 years to be finished. Inspired by Pantheon and combined with majestic experiences from the gothic architecture, we got vital work of architecture that is still innovative, and not just at the time it was built. Till modern times, these constructions have a huge impact and are actual study-objects for architecture.

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The author

Zlata Golaboska

Zlata Golaboska

I am Zlata and I am an architect living in the Balkans. I am passionate about cities, how people influence architecture and vice versa, and how places change our lives.

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