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Filippo Brunelleschi's Dome & Its Construction

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Filippo Brunelleschi's Dome & Its Construction

I. Introduction & thesis

A. Period of time (The Renaissance): A.D. 1350-1700

1. Renaissance literally means "rebirth", "revival" "restoration"

a. Rebirth of the ancient Greek style

b. The neoclassic style of architecture prevailing during the Renaissance

2. Transitional movement in Europe

a. The Renaissance is understood as a historical age that was preceded by the Middle Ages and followed by the Reformation.

b. Between medieval and modern times beginning in the 14th century in Italy, lasting into the 17th century

3. Flourishing in many areas

a. Humanistic (Philosophical) revival of classical influence

b. Flowering of the arts

c. Literature

d. Architecture

e. The very beginnings of modern science

B. Background information of Brunelleschi

1. Lived and worked in Florence from 1377-1446

2. He was trained as a sculptor and goldsmith in one of the typical Florentine workshops

3. His interest in mathematics and the study of ancient monuments tended to turn his work more and more in the direction of architecture

4. As he started off as a member of a goldsmith guild, he later became an architect and sculptor

1. Because of his great techniques and discoveries he was also know as a specialist in mathematics

2. He was also known as an engineer

3. He not only designed and built great architecture, he also invented and found new ways to do things such as lift up the materials he needed to use at high heights for building

5. When he first entered his architecture field, he was frequently thrown out of meetings due to his temper

6. He worked in Rome with his friend Donatello for 3 years

7. He is famous for the daring and original ideas behind his projects

8. He harmoniously re-elaborated the forms of classical architecture

9. Besides the Cupola of St. Maria del Fiore (Duomo)(Brunelleschi's Dome), he had many other architectural works such as:

1. Ospedale degli Innocenti (The foundling children's hospital or orphanage)

2. Basilica di San Lorenzo di Firenze, started 1419

3. Santo Spirito, 1343

4. The Pazzi Chapel

5. Santa Maria degli Angeli (in 1436)

6. The Pitti Palace

7. The Palazzo Quaratesi

8. The Loggia at San Pero a Grada (near Piza)

10. When he died he was buried in Santa Maria del Fiore though his tomb, unknown for centuries, was not discovered until 1972

II. The dome itself

A. Relevance of location of the dome

1. The dome was part of a cathedral

2. It was located in Florence, Italy

a. Florence became the most important city during the Renaissance

b. The artistic, economic and social changes that are associated with the Renaissance first began in the Italian city of Florence

c. Florence's wealth and success, guided by rich patrons like the Medici and the artists they supported, became a new model for society in Europe

B. Purpose of the dome

1. Arnolfo di Cambio began the building in a Gothic style in 1294 (over one hundred years earlier)

2. The dome was left unfinished as part of the cathedral for quite a long time

a. It was not finished because nobody could think of a way to bridge the central crossing of the cathedral

b. In 1418, a competition was announced for proposals on how to bridge the central crossing of the cathedral in Florence

3. Brunelleschi's bid was backed by a then less important family, the Medici, which would benefit hugely from the completion of the dome

a. He purposed his ideas and he won the competition

b. In 1423 he was put in complete charge of the Duomo's building works

III. Building the dome

A. The idea and design

1. His creative design and idea to bridge the central crossing of the cathedral and finish it won the competition and created hope for the city of Florence and its cathedral

2. His design offered to build the cupola in circular cone shaped courses of brickwork forming two shells:

a. One light outer shell

b. And the main shell (the scaffold) so thick that it all the way up contains a closed circle, without a framework of scaffolding

3. He traveled to Rome with the sculptor Donatello to study architecture

a. There, the two artists investigated various Roman ruins to learn about the design and proportion of buildings, as

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