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The Gates of Paradise

"Porta Del Paradiso" or the "Gate of Paradise" was created by the Italian sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti (born 1378 in Pelago, Italy - died in 1455, in Florence) for the Battistero di San Giovanni (the Baptistery of San Giovanni) in 142552 which is part of the Cathedral complex of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (the "Duomo of Florence") and is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of Italian art in the *Quattrocento. It owes its name to Michelangelo who upon visiting to see the new doors exclaimed: "These doors are fit to be the Gates of Paradise"

Gate of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti at the Baptistery di Dan Giovanni Florence Italy

PORTA DEL PARADISO or GATE OF PARADISE
By Lorenzo Ghiberti

The door's height is (506 cm) 5.06 meters or 16.60 feet 506 cm and the Width is (287 cm) 2.87 meters or 9.41 feet 



A few things about the Baptistery:
in Dante's words from "La Commedia": "il bel San Giovanni", has a distinct octagonal layout with eight equal sides and a rectangular addition on the west side. It is worldwide known for its three gilded bronze doors:

At the picture below is the Baptistery and part of the Campanile of the Duomo.

(see the Divine Comedy and towards the end of the page is the Piazza del Duomo with Santa Maria Del Fiore and the Baptistery visible on the bottom left corner.)
 

Baptistery of San Giovanni Florence Italy East Door Gate of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti
The South Door is the oldest of the three. The work was done by Andrea Pisano and was completed in 1330. It has 28 **quatrefoils. Of them 20 depict events from the life of John the Baptist while eight (which are at the bottom of the door) are representations of virtues.

The North Door
known as the Doors of the Cross (work by Lorenzo Ghiberti). He used the same quatrefoil format as Pisano and also has 28 quatrefoils arranged in 7 rows. The molding is framed with designs of fruits, animals and flora and has a prophet at each intersection.

The East Door known as Gate of Paradise (work also by Lorenzo Ghiberti). It took Ghiberti 21 years (1403-1424) to finish the job. The two panel door depicts events from the Creation to the reign of Solomon and has ten rectangular frames five on each panel which contain scenes that are presented in a style carrying a sense of depth through a linear viewpoint and a relief graded to the lowest degree for objects that are far away. He uses a square format rather than the medieval quatrefoil and some panels have up to 100 figures with extensive details. The scenes are from the Old Testament and the door case has niches adorned with statuettes, busts and medallions.


Gate of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti East door of Baptistery di San Giovanni Florence Italy
Frame detail from the Gate of Paradise


Ghiberti was commissioned by the Merchants' Guild which was responsible for the upkeep of the Baptistery having done a few years earlier the door of the North Entrance (see left pictures below).


 

North side and door of the Baptistery di San Giovanni by Lorenzo Ghiberti

North Door above and below

The Doors of The Cross

by Lorenzo Ghiberti

North Door of the Baptistery di San Giovanni  in Florence by Lorenzo Ghiberti

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left

North side of the Baptistery with

North Door

 

 

Right

East side of the Baptistery with the

East Door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South_Door_Baptistery_di_San_Giovanni_by_Andrea_Pisano

SOUTH DOOR

above

by Andrea Pisano

East side and door Baptistery di San Giovanni Gate of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti

East Door above and below

Gate of Paradise

by Lorenzo Ghiberti

East Door Baptistery di San Giovanni Gate of Paradise Florence by Lorenzo Ghiberti






Gate of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti East Door of Baptistery di San Giovanni Florence Italy

Picture above taken by Starlighters  Demetra and Maria Simos on July 12, 2000 at the Battistero di San Giovanni Porta del Paradiso in Firenze (Florence) Italy.  The statues above the door are copies of the "The Baptism of Christ" by Andrea Sansovino (1502-1505) with the originals residing next door in the museum Opera del Duomo There are so many more things that I could add here but nothing will be as enlightening as a personal visit there which I highly recommend.
 



*Quattrocento
:
The artistic and cultural events that took place in Italy at the 15th century is called Quattrocento. If you are interested in the actual translation of the word Quattrocento it means four hundred where Quattro means four and Cento means one hundred.

**Quatrefoil
:
Is a balanced shape that forms the general outline of four partly covered circles of the same diameter.
 

 
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