Guhn Brunelleschi is portrayed by Alessandro Preziosi in the television series Medici: Its long loggia would have been a rare sight in the tight and curving streets of Florencenot to mention its impressive arches, each about 8 meters high. Filippo Brunelleschi — Wikipedia Santa Maria del Fiore was the new cathedral of the city, and by the dome had yet to be defined. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Want to Read Currently Reading Read.
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Barbara J. Becker The Life of Brunelleschi c. He studied mathematics, geometry, and astronomy. Manetti wrote on a variety of subjects, producing a treatise on stars and planets, a biography of Charlemagne, and essays on notable personalities of the fifteenth century including the architect, Filippo Brunelleschi Manetti was an old man when he wrote The Life of Brunelleschi.
So it is not too surprising that many of the details he provides concerning the events leading up to and including the construction of the cupola c. Filippo di Ser Brunellesco, architect, was of our city and in my time I knew him and spoke to him.
He came of good and honorable people. He was born in the year of Our Lord in our city and there, for the most part, he lived, and there, according to the flesh, he died Following the general custom of men of standing in Florence, Filippo learned to read and write at an early age and to use the abacus.
He also learned some Latin; perhaps because his father, who was a notary, thought of having him follow the same profession, since very few men of that period took up Latin--or were made to take it up--unless they expected to become a doctor, notary, or priest.
He was very obedient, manageable, and fearful of disgrace. That fear was more effective than threats or any other device.
He longed for distinction in whatever he undertook. From childhood he had a natural interest in drawing and painting and his work was very charming. For that reason he elected to become a goldsmith when his father, as was the custom, apprenticed him to a trade. Noting his aptitude, his father, who was a wise man, gave his consent. Because of his foundation in drawing he quickly became very proficient in that profession in which he soon displayed himself most wonderfully It was in general the same in everything he dedicated himself to In that art and what pertained to it he succeeded more marvelously than seemed possible at his age He originated the rule that is essential to whatever has been accomplished since his time in that area.
We do not know whether centuries ago the ancient painters--who in that period of fine sculptors are believed to have been good masters--knew about perspective or employed it rationally. If indeed they employed it by rule Through industry and intelligence he either rediscovered or invented it Although he was preeminent over many others in many things and consequently refined his own and the following century, he was never known to boast or praise himself or vaunt or laud himself by a single word.
Instead he proved himself by his deeds with the opportunities that came along. Unless greatly provoked by insulting or disrespectful acts, he never became angry and was amiable to his friends. It gave him pleasure to commend those who merited it. He willingly instructed those he thought wished to be instructed and who were capable of instruction. He was very skillful. Some of those works are still there, although not many; some have been removed, carried off, and shipped out by various popes and cardinals from Rome and other nations.
He seemed to recognize very clearly a certain arrangement of members and structure just as if God had enlightened him about great matters. Since this appeared very different from the method in use at that time, it impressed him greatly He decided to rediscover the fine and highly skilled method of building and the harmonious proportions of the ancients and how they might, without defects, be employed with convenience and economy. Noting the great and complex elements making up these matters--which had nevertheless been resolved--did not make him change his mind about understanding the methods and means they used.
And by virtue of having in the past been interested and having made clocks and alarm bells with various and sundry types of springs geared by many diverse contrivances, he was familiar with all or a great number of these contrivances, which helped him a great deal in conceiving different machines for carrying, lifting, and pulling, according to what the exigencies were. He committed some of them to memory He saw ruins He considered the methods of centering the vaults and other systems of support, how they could be dispensed with and what method had to be used, and when--because of the size of the vault or for other reasons--armatures could not be used By his genius, through tests and experiments, with time and with great effort and careful thought, he became a complete master of these matters in secret, while pretending to be doing something else The sculptor Donatello was with him almost all the time during this stay in Rome During the period that Filippo Every time he went there Through giving his opinion and demonstrating his ingenious devices, his fame constantly increased.
Therefore, in when he happened to be there again, the operai, on hearing of his return, sent for him for--having arrived at the tambour oculi--the time was approaching to vault the octagon.
Together with the master builders and the other officials concerned, they took great pleasure in discussing it with him, particularly because the problems of vaulting such a great and lofty space were already on the minds of the master builders. Therefore the master builders felt that the operai should discuss it with Filippo, and so they did.
Although the builders noted some of the difficulties, Filippo pointed out many more to them. Noting that the operai were somewhat affected by these words Filippo said that urgent business required his return to Rome. However they would not let him go. They kept him so long, seeing him at all hours almost every day, that in order not to appear ungrateful they made him accept ten gold florins in recompense when he finally departed Returning to Rome and thinking over what had been done in regard to architecture in the past and what had been attempted, as has been noted, by other gifted men in the opera and elsewhere, he did not feel that he had wasted his time.
Although he had worked very hard in the past, now with the aforementioned church in Florence always in his thoughts and with some expectation of having to take care of it, he worked harder than ever. With the greatest industry he investigated the methods that the ancient masters employed in the problems he encountered and he noted various solutions When in the operai heard that Filippo was again in Florence on business, they wanted to retain him since the tambour was almost finished, and they had to consider vaulting the cupola.
They asked him to think about it. Because of the great difficulty and because of the honor, and in order not to waste money and because the work merited it, Filippo responded by urging them to convoke soon These experts should be recruited in seasonable time and the date and compensation for those attending should be fixed by the merchants and the Signoria.
And with this advice he departed Having finished building the eight sides of the tambour, the operai and officials in charge summoned a council of selected citizens [to consider] the problems of vaulting it in advance so the work would not be delayed After a few months they had the information and a day was designated far enough in the future to allow time for arrival from all points.
Prizes of such a nature were offered that Filippo came from Rome. After all these very important considerations and preparations That the vault had to be supported with centering was taken for granted by all the masters except Filippo.
Not having proved himself in any large undertaking comparable to this building He repeated constantly that it could be vaulted without centering. After many days of standing firm--he in his opinion and they in theirs--he was twice angrily carried out by the servants of the operai and of the Wool Merchants Guild, the consuls, and many others present, as if he were reasoning foolishly and his words were laughable. As a consequence he was later often wont to say that during the period in which that occurred Seeing his persistence, some people began to heed him, especially because of the difficulty and almost impossibility demonstrated generally Others proposed various diverse methods until everyone was almost desperate They began to accept the reasons he had outlined and to ask whether he might not be trusted in the great undertaking if he could provide some confirmation in a small undertaking [namely, by showing them what he could do in constructing a chapel in San Jacopo di Borgo Oltrarno] Because of this test, [people] partly began to trust his words, although not completely, since the chapel was a small undertaking and the other a great one which, as far as is known, was without precedent.
Finally after other experiments Filippo reasoned orally with great conscientiousness and precision, and finally he was requested to put down in writing the method of keeping it steady and firm so that it would not slip.
He did not make any difficulty about this [request], and the written detailed information was handed over to them A copy of it in proper form follows. Let another outer cupola over this [inner one] be made to preserve it from moisture and so that [the whole cupola] might turn out bigger and inflated.
The space remaining between one cupola and the other is to be 2 braccia at the foot. In this space the stairs are to be placed so that all things between one cupola and the other can be sought out.
Twenty-four spur walls are [to be] made, that is eight in the angles [of the octagon] and sixteen in the sides. Each spur wall in the angles is [to be] 7 braccia thick on its outer and inner end at the foot [of the cupola]. Between said angles in each side there are [to be] two spur walls, each 4 braccia wide at the foot [of the cupola].
These [spur walls will] have the length of the said two vaults together and [will be] built pyramidally [diminishing] according to equal proportion up to the height of the oculus. The said twenty-four piers and the said cupola [shells] are to be encircled by six rings of strong and long sandstone beams well tied together with bars of leaded iron and over the said sandstone beam there are to be iron chains which encircle the said vaults with their spurs. But the first ring at the foot is to be further reinforced with long sandstone beams [running] across [between the shells] so that both cupola [shells] are placed upon said sandstone beams.
And every 12 braccia or so along the height of said vaults there are to be little barrel vaults between one spur and the next for an ambulatory around said cupolas; and under said little barrel vaults there are to be chains of great oak beams between one spur and the next which will bind the said spurs [together] and encircle the vault inside; and over said wooden [beams] an iron chain.
The piers are to be wholly built of macigno [Tuscan sandstone composed of quartz, silicates and mica] and pietra forte [a local fine-grained sandy limestone, yellow-brown in color with occasional grayish-blue patches], the faces [octagon sides] of the cupola [shells] entirely of pietra forte binding with the piers up to a height of 24 braccia. From there upward let it be built of brick or tufa stone as shall be decided by whoever will have to execute it; but [in any case] of a material lighter than stone.
Let an outer ambulatory be made over the tambour, supported by consoles below with open work parapets about 2 braccia high like [the parapets of the walks around] the octagon below. Actually [there should be] two ambulatories, one above the other over a finely profiled cornice. The upper ambulatory should be uncovered. Eight marble ribs are to be made over the corners of the extrados [outside curve of an arch] of the outer shell, as thick as necessary, [rising] 1 braccia high above the cupola [shell], profiled and sloping 2 braccia wide overall so that [a radius of] 1 braccia will extend from the peak to the base in all directions.
Let it be diminishing pyramidally from the springing point to the top. The cupola shells are to be built in the above said manner without any centering up to a height of no more than 30 braccia; but from there in such manner as shall be considered and decided by those masters which will have to build it. And from 30 braccia upward according to what shall then be deemed advisable, because in building only practical experience will teach that which is to be followed. He explained the matter orally much more clearly and fully than he had done in the written account to those who asked and were interested and could comprehend it.
He did it in such a way that many, admiringly, became quite expert about it. As a consequence he achieved great renown and confidence.
The Life of Brunelleschi
Early life[ edit ] Brunelleschi was born in Florence, Italy in In , he became a master goldsmith and a sculptor working with cast bronze. A competition was held in for the design, which drew seven competitors, including Brunelleschi and another young sculptor, Lorenzo Ghiberti. For the competition, each sculptor was required to produce a single bronze panel, depicting the Sacrifice of Isaac within a Gothic four-leaf frame. The panels each contained Abraham, Isaac, an angel and other figures imagined by the artists, and had to harmonize in style with the existing doors, made in by Andrea Pisano. The jury selected Ghiberti, whose composition was simpler and more classical, but the work of Brunelleschi, with more dramatic movement, made a good impression.
Barbara J. Becker The Life of Brunelleschi c. He studied mathematics, geometry, and astronomy. Manetti wrote on a variety of subjects, producing a treatise on stars and planets, a biography of Charlemagne, and essays on notable personalities of the fifteenth century including the architect, Filippo Brunelleschi Manetti was an old man when he wrote The Life of Brunelleschi. So it is not too surprising that many of the details he provides concerning the events leading up to and including the construction of the cupola c.