The Gates of Paradise

The Gates of Paradise

Artist Lorenzo Ghiberti

Date 1425-52

Movement Italian Renaissance

Medium Gilt bronze

Dimensions height 15′

Located at Baptistery of San Giovanni, Florence


Ghiberti’s work on the new set of doors upon St. John’s Baptistery was so well liked by the Guild of Wool Merchants that they commissioned another one for the east side, facing the cathedral over an expanse called the Paradise. The three sets complete a full program, one to Jesus, one to St. John the Baptist, and this to the Hebrew Bible. Only ten square panels comprise this set, however; they are aggrandized with a brilliant gilt and framed by prophets tucked within roundels and niches.


The Story of Jacob and Esau

On the right of the panel, Esau disguises himself as his brother Jacob to receive Isaac’s blessing, while Isaac mistakenly sends Jacob hunting on the left. Ghiberti is clearly influenced by the International Gothic style—note the tall, swaying figures and the elegant way in which their garments fall. Ghiberti utilizes Donatello’s technique of schiacciato, which, along with the inclusion Brunelleschi’s linear perspective through Classical architecture, adds considerable depth to the pieces.