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Gates of Paradise

We visited the Gates of Paradise exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.

We went to the Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago to see the exhibit “The Gates of Paradise.” The show includes art work and three of the panels of the east doors of the Bapistry in Florence; these panels are considered an excellent example of early Renaissance art.  Lorenzo Ghiberti won a competition (Brunilleschi, the man that put the dome on the Florentine Duomo, lost that competition) to cast doors for the Bapistry which is across the square from the Duomo.  This was Ghiberti’s third set of doors (copies of the first set is on the north side of the Bapistry).  During the Arno flood of 1966, some of the panels of “The Gates of Paradise” were dislodged.  This led to an effort to restore the panels; the east doors of the Bapistry are now a copy, and the original panels are located in the museum of the Duomo.  I visited that museum on our last trip to Florence and you can see my pictures here.  The panels in this exhibit are Adam and Eve, Jacob and Esau, and David and Goliath.

I liked this exhibit a lot – it combined some of the art work going on at the time (Ghiberti really liked the Gothic style and spent some time in Siena decorating their cathedral).

On Ghiberti, I think the  last paragraph of the web page on the exhibit sums him up nicely:

Sculptor, painter, draftsman, architectural consultant, stained-glass designer, entrepreneur, author of a treatise on the arts, and the first artist to write an autobiography, Ghiberti could honestly declare in his Commentaries that “few things of importance were made in our city that were not designed or devised by my hand.” The masterpieces in this exhibition, while representing only a small portion of his works, confirm that Ghiberti had good reason to boast.”

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