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Brunelleschi, Filippo [Italian, 1377-1446]


[ 15th Century Artists | Sculptors ]
portrait

Filippo Brunelleschi (1377–1446) was an Italian architect, goldsmith, and sculptor. The first Renaissance architect, he also formulated the principles of linear perspective which governed pictorial depiction of space until the late 19th century.

In Florence during the second and third decades of the 15th century, the visual arts were transformed into the Renaissance style. The concept of the Renaissance, whose aim was the re-creation of ancient classical culture, occasioned in painting and sculpture a revival of naturalism based primarily on antique statuary and in architecture a revival of classical forms and ornament. All the arts revealed an increased concern for the delineation and unification of space, which the development of linear perspective satisfied. Three Florentine artists.the architect Filippo Brunelleschi the sculptor Donatello, and the painter Masaccio. were the leaders in this new movement and soon made Florence the artistic capital of Europe.

Brunelleschi was born in Florence, the son of an eminent notary. Filippo entered the silk guild as a goldsmith in 1398. The following year he was employed by a goldsmith in Pistoia, where he made several silver figures for the altar of St. James in the Cathedral. Brunelleschi entered the competition of 1401 for a new set of portals for the Baptistery in Florence; his trial piece, the Sacrifice of Isaac, compared very favorably with that of Lorenzo Ghiberti, who was awarded the commission. Brunelleschi's relief is derived stylistically from the work of his predecessor Andrea Pisano, but it already reveals an interest in classical antiquity, as the servant in the relief was inspired by the Hellenistic statue Spinario, or “thorn-puller.” In 1404 Brunelleschi was admitted as master to the goldsmiths' guild in Florence, and later that year he was consulted regarding a buttress of the Cathedral.

During the next decade the details of Brunelleschi's life are very vague. He undoubtedly made several trips to Rome to survey its ancient monuments. A wooden crucifix in S. Maria Novella, Florence, perhaps from this period, is sometimes attributed to him. In 1415 he repaired the Ponte a Mare in Pisa, and 2 years later he and other masters presented opinions on the design and construction of the great dome projected for the Gothic Cathedral of Florence. It was perhaps at this time that Brunelleschi devised the method of constructing linear perspective, which he illustrated in two perspective panels (now lost): one depicted the Florentine Baptistery as viewed from the Cathedral portal, and the other illustrated the Palazzo Vecchio.

From October of 1916 through January of 1917, Rudolf Steiner gave a series of nine lectures known as the Art Course. These lectures were given the title of: The History of Art. Click here to discover what Steiner said about Filippo Brunelleschi in the ninth lecture, or in the entire lecture series.


  Brunelleschi, Filippo [Italian, 1377-1446]

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