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Lorenzo Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise
Humanism, History, and Artistic Philosophy in the Italian Renaissance

$85.00 USD

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  • Author: Amy R. Bloch, University at Albany, State University of New York
  • Date Published: August 2016
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781316405345

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About the Authors
  • This book examines the heretofore unsuspected complexity of Lorenzo Ghiberti's sculpted representations of Old Testament narratives in his Gates of Paradise (1425–52), the second set of doors he made for the Florence Baptistery and a masterpiece of Italian Renaissance sculpture. One of the most intellectually engaged and well-read artists of his age, Ghiberti found inspiration in ancient and medieval texts, many of which he and his contacts in Florence's humanist community shared, read, and discussed. He was fascinated by the science of vision, by the functioning of nature, and, above all, by the origins and history of art. These unusually well-defined intellectual interests, reflected in his famous Commentaries, shaped his approach in the Gates. Through the selection, imaginative interpretation, and arrangement of biblical episodes, Ghiberti fashioned multi-textured narratives that explore the human condition and express his ideas on a range of social, political, artistic, and philosophical issues.

    • Contains the most detailed examination ever published of one of the great masterpieces of Italian Renaissance sculpture
    • Offers readers a new vision of the role of the early fifteenth-century artist - the artist, in this case, participated directly in fashioning the meaning of the work - and presents the first intellectual portrait of any early fifteenth-century artist
    • Discusses the vast traditions of Old Testament interpretation (in text and image), giving readers a sense of how understanding and representation of the Old Testament have changed over centuries
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    • Honourable Mention, 2017 PROSE Award for Art History and Criticism

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Looking at the beautifully restored panels in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, I was struck by how much of Bloch's analysis of the Gates of Paradise impacted my view. Her concentrated focus on what Lorenzo Ghiberti and his friends and patrons were reading, what they probably read, and what he wrote transforms the Gates into texts … It is this type of detail that will appeal to bronze specialists in particular, though the book should be read by all who work in Italian Renaissance art and literary history. Highly Recommended.' Meghan Callahan, Renaissance Quarterly

    'Lorenzo Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise is as much a monograph on a complex work of bronze sculpture, as an exploration of how Italian artists of the era created pictorial narrative …' Joost Joustra, Oxford Art Journal

    '… [An] ambitious, erudite book … Bloch's ten chapters - one for each panel of the Gates - provide an analysis of Ghiberti's chronological narrative through a detailed description of the scenes.' Luca Palozzi, The Burlington Magazine

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2016
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781316405345
    • contains: 269 b/w illus. 16 colour illus.
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. The Adam and Eve panel: the birth of creativity
    2. The Cain and Abel panel: fashioning thought and fate
    3. The Noah panel: architecture and politics emerge
    4. The Abraham and Isaac panel: the sacrifice from the competition to the Gates of Paradise
    5. The Jacob and Esau panel: perspective, vision, and memory
    6. The Joseph panel: speech acts in the piazza
    7. The Moses panel: sculpting the drama of nature
    8. The Joshua panel: the fate of art
    9. The David panel: Ghiberti, tragedian
    10. The Solomon and Queen of Sheba panel: a portrait of Ghiberti's Florence.

  • Author

    Amy R. Bloch, University at Albany, State University of New York
    Amy R. Bloch is Associate Professor of Art History at the University at Albany, State University of New York. Her research focuses on Italian Renaissance sculpture, and she has published articles and essays on Ghiberti, Donatello, Michelangelo, and on the art and ritual of baptism in Florence. Her work has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Villa I Tatti (the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies), the Renaissance Society of America, and the College Art Association.


    • Honourable Mention, 2017 PROSE Award for Art History and Criticism

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