Florence Essay

Given that the state of Florence throughout the 14th century was nothing less than precarious, it was crucial that something astounding must be accomplished to resurrect the heart and soul of the city. Constantly in fear of being overtaken by warring factions and decimated by the plague, the city was ripe for a resurgence of both their economy and their reputation as an economic and artistic center of the world. So entered a number of artists intent on making their marks on the city. But what type of mark would they make? Indeed, what type of mark was most needed?

The re-emergence of art marked the beginning of the Renaissance. Two of the most renowned artists of Florence, always at odds with each other, but never at odds with their art, brought renewal to the city, each in his own way. The city needed something grand and visible as well as something beautifully crafted for the ages. Filippo Brunelleschi chose the utilitarian path to making his mark by designing and implementing the construction of the dome of the Cathedral in Florence, a project that had been languishing for years.

Lorenzo Ghiberti chose to concentrate on the spirit of the city by producing the bronze doors of the Baptistery of San Giovanni, a work described later by Michelangelo as the “gates of Paradise. ” Each took his own distinct path. Brunelleschi’s many architectural accomplishments would be seen as the very atmosphere of the city – magnificent and physical – while Ghiberti’s works would decorate the spirit of the city.

Yet both were invaluable gifts to the city of Florence at a time when the city was vulnerable. They shored up the status of Florence, a city that became a leader in the Renaissance and to this day is an artistic center of the world. Neither can be lauded over the other. Both produced significant works – one with passion and utility, one with grace and spirit. The city of Florence is forever indebted to both of these artists who at the same time blessed the world with their art for ages to come.

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