Lorenzo Ghiberti Biography

Early Life

Lorenzo Ghiberti was born in the year 1378 in Pelago, Italy. He was the son of a goldsmith and artist, Cione Ghiberti. Despite being the son of Cione, he was raised by Bartoluccio di Michele, his stepfather, who was also a goldsmith and gave Lorenzo his early training.


Ghiberti’s education was primarily under the watchful eye of his stepfather, Bartoluccio, and it was here that he learned the craft and art of goldsmithing. This early training in the art of design and creation of precious metal pieces greatly influenced Ghiberti’s later work in sculpture and architecture.

Beyond his initial training in his stepfather’s workshop, Ghiberti’s education was a combination of practical experience and independent study. Listed among his key influences were the works of the ancient Greeks and Romans, as well as the contemporary writers Dante and Petrarch.


Ghiberti’s work was significantly influenced by the late Gothic style which was prevalent in his formative years, and the gradual shift towards the early Renaissance period. His work involved a combination of these two styles, adapting the detailed and ornate character of Gothic art to the more proportionate and humanistic style of the Renaissance.

In addition to the stylistic influences of the time, Ghiberti was also heavily influenced by several noteworthy artists and writers. These include the works of classical artists, as well as contemporary thinkers like Dante and Petrarch.

Major Artwork

Ghiberti is probably best remembered for his work on the bronze doors of the Baptistery of the cathedral of Florence. He spent 21 years of his life, from 1403 to 1424, working on these doors, which are commonly referred to today as “The Gates of Paradise”. The doors consist of 28 panels, with the 20 uppermost panels depicting scenes from the life of Christ.

In addition to the Baptistery doors, Ghiberti also worked on a number of other major projects. These include two bronze statues of saints for the church of Orsanmichele, and the design of the north transept door of the cathedral in Siena.

Art Movements

Ghiberti’s work falls predominantly within the Late Gothic and Early Renaissance periods. His work represents a fusion of these two styles, and his innovative use of perspective and detail were groundbreaking for the time. Ghiberti is also noted for his pioneering use of narrative within his works, and his Baptistery doors are often referred to as one of the earliest examples of pictorial narrative in art.


Ghiberti’s contributions to the world of art cannot be overstated. He was a pioneer in the fusion of Gothic and Renaissance styles, and his innovative use of perspective and narrative changed the face of art. Despite the fact that he is probably best known for one major work – his bronze doors for the Baptistery of Florence – Ghiberti’s influence extends far beyond this single achievement. His techniques and styles can be seen in the work of countless artists and architects who followed him, making him a true titan of the art world. Ghiberti died in 1455; however, his legacy continues to inspire and influence artists even today.