Arno River, Firenze, Italia

Arno River, Firenze, Italia

Friday, September 3, 2010

Il Duomo.

09.02.2010 in the afternoon and evening.

The Duomo is breathtaking, even though its base is crowded with throngs of tourists and peddlers. The white, pink, and green marble is streaked with years of wear and dirt. Scaffolding obstructs part of the view, Florence’s efforts to preserve its beauty, cleaning the marble sections at a time. Rose windows speckle the structure, boasting of its “Florentine Gothic” style and construction in 1296.

The highlight of the Duomo is Brunelleschi’s dome, the first free standing dome, constructed without supports. Brunelleschi, an amazing architect, was publicly criticized for his original plans for Il Duomo. At a meeting, pursuing the commission for the cathedral’s finish, Brunelleschi challenged the other architects to make an egg stand on one end. After much difficulty on their part, he cracked the tip of the egg on the table, balancing it perfectly upright. With this, he won the commission for this spectacular engineering and architectural feat, building the Duomo in the same manner.

Across from the Duomo is the Baptistery. The oldest structure in Florence, it was built in the 11th and 12th century Romanesque era of art, matching the style of the Duomo. Lorenzo Ghiberti pursued and won the commission of the Baptistery’s three sets of bronze doors, competing against Donatello and Brunelleschi. His opponents, upon seeing his work, which incorporated detailed scenes from the New Testament in each panel, willingly conceded the commission to Ghiberti out of respect. Even Michelangelo noted Ghiberti’s skill, exclaiming that the doors were fit to stand at the entrance to the Gates of Paradise. Ghiberti, after receiving so much attention and compliments for his work, claimed to have personally planned and solely created the Renaissance era (ha!).

Copies have replaced these “Gates of Paradise” (which were been placed in a museum to protect them from the elements).

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