Artibus et Historiae no. 77 (XXXIX)

2018, ISSN 0391-9064

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IRINA CHERNETSKY - The Image of Florence in Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise (pp. 13–30)

The present paper discusses the sculptural representations of Jerusalem depicted in the David and the Solomon reliefs in Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise (1425–1452). Ghiberti designed the architectural features of the Holy City to incorporate prominent Roman and Florentine landmarks. The significance of the two reliefs becomes clear when they are taken together with the two reliefs of Moses and Joshua. The four lower reliefs – the panels most easily accessible to a spectator – expound the theme of the entry into the Promised Land and the glory of Jerusalem. They also connect the representation of Jerusalem to events in the contemporary history of Florence. Florence was the home of the pope in exile, and the host to the Ecumenical Council, which was intended to engender great Church reforms. The Florentines promoted themselves as the elected nation and their city as both a New Rome and a New Jerusalem. These aspirations were reflected in liturgical celebrations, held inside the church and outside in the city streets. They were the subject of sermons and, as we see in the Gates of Paradise, they found expression in the visual arts.

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