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Brunelleschi’s Dome

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Brunelleschi’s Dome

Book Review


The book that I read was Brunelleschi's Dome by Ross King. This book summarized the story of how Filippo Brunelleschi was a genius in architecture during the Renaissance and the mastermind behind creation and completion of the dome in the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral.

Brunelleschi started out his skilled life as a goldsmith in San Giovanni. A career as a goldsmith was very popular at the time by other great artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Donatello. Being a goldsmith inspired Brunelleschi to create and sculpt things. When Brunelleschi was done mastering the skills of metal work, he began working on gears, and then on to clocks. Later he found out that all the traits he learned became very useful for his projects.

Around 1938 Brunelleschi rose to one of the finest goldsmiths in the area, which nominated him for in the competition for the completion of the bronze doors of the Baptistery of San Giovanni. Once he won the competition Brunelleschi was put on the map of skilled craftsmen and an intelligent problem solver. This also set him up for his largest accomplishments of them all; the dome in the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral.

After the completion of the bronze doors, Brunelleschi went to Rome and studied architecture and mathematics with soon to be friend Donatello.

Brunelleschi quickly returned back to Florence once he heard of the competition of the dome in the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral. There were many people, mostly masons and carpenters, at work building or drawing models on how they think the dome should be built. Out of all the plans submitted the judges picked Brunelleschi's. Even though his plan was unconventional the judges thought he could get the job done. As Brunelleschi began work on the dome people often considered him as crazy or insane because people believed that his bold ideas would either kill all of his workers in the process or collapse. The people didn't believe that man who is a goldsmith and a clock maker could complete this task.

Brunelleschi had to build the dome during some rough times in Florence which included the near capture of the city by the Duke of Milan and the plagues that traveled through the town. He also had a fierce feud with another sculptor by the name of Lorenzo Ghiberti.

During all of this Brunelleschi not only built the dome in the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral (what today is still the biggest dome in the world), but mechanical marvels of worker platforms and lifts that managed to carry workers and hundreds pounds of materials hundreds feet

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