Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Gates of Paradise

The Story of Joseph (panel on the Gates of Paradise)

Lorenzo Ghiberti was commissioned to create these doors in 1425. These doors, located on the north side of the Grace Cathedral in Florence, weren't completed until 27 years later! The process in which they were made is enough to make anyone appreciate this artwork. Ghiberti used a special process in which the panels were modeled in wax and covered with liquid plaster and a clay jacket. The panels were then baked until the wax flowed off leaving the mold and bronze to be poured into the mold. After the bronze became hard, intricate details were carved by hand. Ghiberti's use of perspective was also amazing in that the figures and the relief levels decrease in size from the front to the back. The doors feature stories from the Bible from the books of Genesis all the way to Kings. The panels should be read from left to right and top to base. Each door of the Gates of Paradise is 16 feet tall and weighs one and one-third ton! The doors stood on the cathedral for five centuries enduring wars and even a flood. The originals were removed in 1991 due to damage from acid rain and pollution, and replaced with replicas. The original panels, however, can be viewed in the Duomo Museum. These doors are truly "The Gates of Paradise." If the process doesn't make you fall in love with these doors, the story and beauty they depict will!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great photo and good story.
as if i had been there before.