Early Artists

Lorenzo Ghiberti, who lived from 1378-1455 was one of the first artists of the Renaissance. After a competition to display his and others’ skills he was chosen to complete the bronze doors for the Baptistery next to the Duomo in Florence. His job included the making of 28 panels, 20 on the life of Christ, 4 on apostles, and 4 on doctors of the church. These pieces of art consumed 20 whole years of his life. His assistant, Donatello learned much from working in Ghiberti’s workshop.

Donatello, who lived from 1386-1406 worked on statues. His most famous being ‘David’ of the 1440s. ‘David’ was a most humble statue, it was depicted as a young man of weak appearance wearing no armor. This statue was so unlike the previous ancient Greek statues since it didn’t display a strong muscular man, it showed the real David.

One of Ghiberti’s losing competitors in the work of the bronze doors was Brunelleschi, another great early Renaissance artist. Brunelleschi, like Ghiberti, was trained as a sculptor but after his loss in the competition he realized his true calling was in architecture. He completed the Duomo, a building that had an enormous dome over a huge part of it. That dome was such an accomplishment that it made Brunelleschi famous as the first great architect in the Renaissance.

Some of these men were of great fame while others were thought of as more lowly yet each of them had a grand impact in the Renaissance, two of these men were even complimented by Michelangelo.

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