60% of the world’s most important works of art are in Italy and almost half of those are in Florence.

Enter the Duomo of Florence (Santa Maria del Fiore), one of the most famous cathedrals in the world and the location for one of the world’s most impressive works of art.  In the shadow of Brunelleschi’s Dome, the Bronze Doors of the Baptistery of the Cathedral of Florence are as iconic as the Dome or the statue of David. Here you will literally come face-to-face with one of the movers and shakers of the Italian Renaissance.

Piacere Lorenzo Ghiberti. After winning a completion, with the likes of Brunelleschi and Donatello, to design the doors for north entrance of the Cathedral, Ghiberti was later commissioned to design doors for the east entrance. The bronze paneled doors have been described by some as “the most important event in the history of Florentine art in the first quarter of the 15th century” and those that open to the east entrance have been called the

Gates of Paradise. It was here that I met Ghiberti by way of a gilded bronze relief of the artist’s image.

No less impressive than the active and life-like creatures, people, leaves and flowers that make up the panels of the great doors, Ghiberti’s image juts out from the bronze landscape with a look of pleasure in what must have been his greatest accomplishment.  Ghiberti captured his image in bronze with such realism and charm that it felt common and comfortable to approach the bronze bust saying “Pleased to meet you Lorenzo. I really like your doors”

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