Who was Filippo Brunelleschi?

Who was Filippo Brunelleschi?

Brilliant Brunelleschi

Filippo Brunelleschi is considered to be one of the founding fathers of Italian Renaissance architecture. The dome he designed, which completed Florence's Duomo, is seen as a turning point in architectural history. Brunelleschi was born in around 1377 in Florence and first came to prominence as a goldsmith. He fought a close competition with Lorenzo Ghiberti to design the bronze doors for Florence's baptistry, which he eventually lost. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it was architecture (and the dome itself) for which he would be eventually remembered.

Brunelleschi is relevant to the International Baccalaureate unit on 15th-century Italy and Northern European  Art and Architecture, and the A-Level unit, Invention and Illusion: the Renaissance in Italy.

Grand Plans

When construction began on Florence’s Duomo – the Santa Maria del Fiore in 1296, it was designed to have the largest self-supporting dome ever built. This ambitious plan, to rival the Pantheon (built by the ancient Romans), had a major flaw: no one knew how to actually build such a structure. So, in 1418 a competition was held to find an architect who could. On this occasion Brunelleschi and Ghiberti faced each other once again, but this time, Brunelleschi won the commission. Find out how he managed to complete the dome by watching our film...

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New Film!

In our new film, presented by History of Art teacher Juliet Bailey, we move two decades later to 1442 and to one of Brunelleschi’s last commissions: the Pazzi Chapel in Florence. Learn how this building demonstrates the Renaissance ideals of rationality and geometry. The floor plan is based on two shapes - the square and the circle, which extend to the surrounding walls and ceiling. Unfortunately, Brunelleschi died in 1446 before he could see the chapel completed. Click below to learn why it is considered a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture.