In the Florence Cathedral, Florence, Italy, there is a cathedral church whose octagonal dome, built without the aid of scaffolding, was considered the greatest engineering feat of the early Renaissance. Dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore, Our Lady of the Flower, it is also known as the Duomo, after the Italian word for cathedral. Created by many great Early Modern artists, this piece of architecture is a perfect example the Renaissance style. We can come to a better understanding of why this is so by exploring what the characteristics of the Renaissance "style". To understand the properties of the Florence Cathedral that fit the Early Modern style, I will begin with a description and its history. The cathedral's architectural style, although greatly influenced by French Gothic elements remained distinctively Florentine, especially the geometric patterns of red, green, and white marble on the building's exterior. Construction of the cathedral began in 1294 on the site of a Christian church founded in the 6th or 7th century and continued until 1436. Several celebrated Italian architects were involved in the project, including Giotto, Arnolfo di Cambio, Andrea Orcagna, and, most notably, Filippo Brunelleschi, who was responsible for designing and building the dome. The cathedral's exterior is ornamented with sculpture and mosaics by Italian artists Donatello, Nanni di Banco, and Domenico Ghirlandaio, among others. The building's stained-glass windows are the work of the Italian architect and artist Lorenzo Ghiberti, and the interior is decorated with sculpture and fresco paintings by several Renaissance masters. Construction of the campanile (bell tower), situated to the right of the entrance to the Duomo, was begun by Giotto and completed according to his plans in 1359, after his death. Nearly 278 ft high, the campanile is embellished with red, green, and white marble panels of relief sculpture by Italian artists Andrea Pisano and Luca della Robbia, and niches with...
Bibliography: Rice Jr., Eugene F.; Anthony Grafton. The Foundations of Early Modern Europe, 1460-1559. W. W. Norton & Company. New York, NY, 1993. Helton, Tinsley. World Book Encyclopedia, v16. "Renaissance", pp. 222-224. World Book–Childcraft International Inc. Chicago, IL, 1979. Vasari, Gorgio. Lives of the Artists. Penguin Books Ltd. London, England, 1987
Plumb, J. H. (John Harold), 1911-
The Italian Renaissance / J.H. Plumb.
1st Mariner Book ed.
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2001, c1989.
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