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Lorenzo Ghiberti (born Lorenzo di Bartolo) (1378 – 1 December 1455) was an Italianmarker artist of the early Renaissance best known for works in sculpture and metalworking.

Ghiberti was born in Florencemarker. His father was Bartoluccio Ghiberti, a trained artist and goldsmith, who trained his son in the gold trade. Lorenzo Ghiberti then went to work in the workshop of Bartoluccio de Michele, where Brunelleschi also got his training. When the bubonic plague struck Florence in 1400, Ghiberti emigrated to Romagnamarker, where he assisted in the completion of wall frescoes of the castle of Carlo I Malatesta.

Ghiberti first became famous when he won the 1401 competition for the first set of bronze doors for the Baptisterymarker of the cathedral in Florence. Brunelleschi was the runner up. The original plan was for the doors to depict scenes from the Old Testament, and the trial piece was the sacrifice of Isaac. However, the plan was changed to depict scenes from the New Testament, instead.

To carry out this commission, he set up a large workshop in which many artists trained, including Donatello, Masolino, Michelozzo, Uccello, and Antonio Pollaiuolo. Ghiberti had re-invented the lost-wax casting (cire perdute) of bronze-casting as it was used by the ancient Romans. This made his workshop so special to young artists.

When his first set of twenty-eight panels was complete, Ghiberti was commissioned to produce a second set for another doorway in the church, this time with scenes from the Old Testament, as originally intended for his first set. Instead of twenty-eight scenes, he produced ten rectangular scenes in a completely different style. They were more naturalistic, with perspective and a greater idealization of the subject. Michelangelo dubbed these scenes the "Gates of Paradise." "The Gates of Paradise" is known to be a monument to the age of humanism.

He was the commissioned to execute monumental gilded bronze statues to be placed within select niches of the Orsanmichelemarker in Florencemarker, one of Saint John the Baptistmarker for the Arte di Calimala (Wool Merchants' Guild) and one of St. Matthew for the Arte di Cambio (Bankers' Guild). Finally, he also produced a bronze figure of St. Stephen for the Arte della Lana (Wool Manufacturers' Guild).

He was also a collector of classical artifacts and a historian. He was actively involved in the spreading of humanist ideas. His unfinished Commentarii are a valuable source of information about Renaissance art and contain an autobiography, the first of an artist. This work was a major source for Vasari's Vite. Ghiberti died in Florence at the age of seventy-seven.

Gallery

Image:Ghiberticompetition.jpg|Ghiberti's winning piece for the 1401 competition, with the scene still framed by a medieval motif. This motif is absent in the later Gates of Paradise panels.Image:Paradies tuer florenz.jpg|Gates of Paradise, Baptistery, Florencemarker. The doors in situ are reproductions.File:Abraham (Gates of Paradise) 01.JPG|Angled view of a panel with the story of Abraham from the Florence Gates of Paradise (see above).Image:Santa Croce Firenze Apr 2008 (4).JPG|Tomb of Ghiberti in the Basilica Santa Croce in Florence

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