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Biography of Lorenzo Ghiberti


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Ghiberti, Lorenzo (1378-1455), an Italian goldsmith and one of the greatest sculptors of the early Renaissance, was born at Florence. In 1401 the Merchants Guild of Florence decided upon two new doors for the baptistry, and all the artists of Italy were invited to compete. Ghiberti won the competition because of the superiority of his design. He labored for almost 20 years on the first gate, which consists of 28 panels, representing incidents in the life of Christ, the Church fathers and the Evangelists. So well had Ghiberti wrought that he immediately received a commission for a second gate. Upon this one he spent another 20 years, choosing subjects from the Old Testament. The bronze gates, are among the finest works of art in Italy. Michelangelo said of them that they were "worthy to be the gates of Paradise."