Sculpture was of great importance in the development of Renaissance art, of which two men, Bruneleschi and Ghilberti were major contributors (Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance, Page 38, and Lecture 3). There was a competition that was open for artists to enter to design a panel for the north entrance to the Baptistry (which had three entrances). There were seven entrants in the competition and the two final contestants were Brunelleschi and Ghiberti.
In Brunelleschi’s depiction of Isaac and the characters and scenes surrounding him, there is an abruptness of an angel rushing in to grab Abraham’s arm as Brunelleschi depicts a raw brutality when Abraham grabs Isaac around the throat, his head thrown back as he attempts to use the knife to kill him. Ghiberti’s panel, on the other hand, was more suave, more carefully balanced, less crowded, more idealized (none in the Brunelleschi), and more beautiful.
The Isaac portrayed, even though small, was one of the first nude renaissance figures. Ghilberti’s drama is less immediate than Bru, but it is more legible which is of great importance in this small scene, and in the other panels. It is easier to read on the doors from some distance. (Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance, Lecture 3). Ghiberti won the competition and worked on the door for a quarter of a century from 1403 to 1424. Out of this he was commissioned to do the south doors, without competition.
It is understandable why it took so long to complete these doors as the work was not only tedious but the detail that had to be put into each panel for each story had to take great, consuming concentration to create such detail. You can see the features of the individuals, as well as the surrounding scenery in each panel which is read from left to right. The panels contact scenes from Genesis to Creation to their expulsion, Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David and Solomon are portrayed on these panels. Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance, Lecture 3). The design of the doors was radially different from the design of the earlier baptistery doors since the 28th panel and the quadrafoil shape within which the sculptural figures had to be fitted in the earlier doors was abandoned. The new doors had 10 panels, 5 in each valve, and were square and much larger fields similar to those used in paintings.
It allowed Gilberti to develop a pictorial style of relief sculpture with remarkable illusions of architectural and landscape space. rtists. Each of the panels was completely guilded creating an exquisite and splendid appearance. (Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance, Page 38, and Lecture 3). I chose Lorenzo Ghilberti for being a student of the bible (Word of GOD), the subjects of his panel work (called the Gates of Paradise0 was fascinating to me. Even though I have seen most, if not all, of the “stories ? as paintings, Ghilberti created a totally different dimension and perspective within each delicate and intricate creation for the individual panels..
Each detail was beautifully sculpted so that each figure almost pops out of the panel and comes alive. Learning about and seeing this type of art work also helps me to understand why GOD does not want man to use graven images because many times the truth may not be depicted completely from what a man or woman imagines; for instance, the above-mentioned competition panel which portrays grabbing Isaac to slit his throat. It’s a little shocking to me as Abraham was not mad nor angry when he took Isaac up on the mountain as a sacrifice. In the bible, they are instructed how to do a sacrifice.
One type of sacrifice using a lamb, ram or other animal had the person to bind their feet and place them on the altar. Sacrifices had their throats humanely cut to drain the blood, as they were not allowed to eat blood. Isaac would have been bound and laid on the altar then sacrificed for he asked his father, Abraham, where the sacrifice was to which Abraham, trusting GOD, answered that GOD would provide the sacrifice. Quite a contract to what is being portrayed in the panels; but, nevertheless, the artistry portrayed gives a different sense of their passion in the art work they displayed in the Renaissance.