Photographer's Note

By the beginning of the fifteenth century, the drum of the church was built. However, the 42 meter wide space above the church's chancel still did not have the planned octagonal cupola, even though a brick model from 1367 already existed (as related in the "Life of Brunelleschi" by Antonio Manetti, ca. 1480).

The building of a stone dome posed many technical problems. Though Brunelleschi drew his inspiration from the great dome of the Pantheon in Rome, the formula for concrete had long since been forgotten He would have to build the dome out of bricks. To show what his dome was to look like, he constructed a wooden and brick model with the help of Donatello and Nanni di Banco (on display in the Museum Opera del Duomo). Brunelleschi won by a nose. His model served as a guide for the craftsmen, but was intentionally incomplete, as to ensure his control over the construction.

Brunelleschi's solutions were ingenious and unprecedented: the distinctive octagonal design of the double-walled dome, resting on a drum and not on the roof itself, allowed for the entire dome to be built without the need for scaffolding from the ground, the first large dome ever to be built without centering ] But, because the dome rested on a drum with no external butresses supporting it, there could be no lateral thrusts at the base of the dome.

This enormous construction weighs 37,000 tons and contains over 4 million bricks. He made several models and drawings of details during the construction. Brunelleschi had to invent special hoisting machines and lewissons for hoisting large stones. These specially designed machines and brilliant masonry techniques were Brunelleschi's spectacular contribution to architecture. The ability to transcribe a circle on a cone face within the innermost double-shelled wall makes the self-sustaining "horizontal" arch construction possible, since geometrically, a circular plan is needed for such an erection.

Ghiberti, appointed coadjutator, mocked these plans and called them unfeasible. Brunelleschi, deeply offended, then pretended a sickness and left for Rome, leaving the project in the hands of Ghiberti. But Ghiberti soon had to admit that the whole project was beyond him. In 1423 Brunelleschi was back in charge and took over sole responsibility.

Work started on the dome in 1420 and was completed in 1436. The cathedral was consecrated by Pope Eugene IV on March 25, 1436 (the first day of the year according to the Florentine calendar). It was the first 'octagonal' dome in history (The Roman Pantheon, a circular dome, was built in 117–128 C.E. with support structures) to be built without a wooden supporting frame and was the largest dome built at the time (it is still the largest masonry dome in the world). It had been one of the most impressive projects of the Renaissance. During the consecration service in 1436, Guillaume Dufay's similarly unique motet Nuper rosarum flores was performed. The structure of this motet was strongly influenced by the structure of the dome.

Brunelleschi's ability to crown the dome with a lantern was questioned and he had to undergo another competition. He was declared the winner over his competitors Lorenzo Ghiberti and Antonio Ciaccheri. His design was for an octagonal lantern with eight radiating buttresses and eight high arched windows (now on display in the Museum Opera del Duomo). Construction of the lantern was begun a few months before his death in 1446. Then, for 15 years, little progress was possible, due to alterations by several architects. The lantern was finally completed by Brunelleschi's friend Michelozzo in 1461. The conical roof was crowned with a gilt copper ball and cross, containing holy relics, by Verrocchio in 1469. This brings the total height of the dome and lantern to 114.5 metres (375 ft). This copper ball was struck by lightning on 17 July 1600 and fell down. It was replaced by an even larger one two years later.

The commission for this bronze ball [atop the lantern] went to the sculptor Andrea del Verrocchio, in whose workshop there was at this time a young apprentice named Leonardo da Vinci. Fascinated by Filippo's [Brunelleschi's] machines, which Verrocchio used to hoist the ball, Leonardo made a series of sketches of them and, as a result, is often given credit for their invention. Leonardo might have also participated in the design of the bronze ball, as stated in the G manuscript of Paris "Remember the way we soldered the ball of Santa Maria del Fiore" The decorations of the drum gallery by Baccio d'Agnolo were never finished after being disapproved by no one less than Michelangelo.

A huge statue of Brunelleschi now sits outside the Palazzo dei Canonici in the Piazza del Duomo, looking thoughtfully up towards his greatest achievement, the dome that would forever dominate the panorama of Florence. It's still today the largest masonry dome of the world.

The building of the cathedral had started in 1296 with the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and was completed in 1469 with the placing of Verrochio's copper ball atop the lantern. But the façade was still unfinished and would remain so until the nineteenth century

From wikipedia

Budapestman, azaf1, danos, LamCam marcou esta nota como útil

Photo Information
Viewed: 2008
Points: 12
  • None
Additional Photos by dominic Portmann (portmanndominic) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 541 W: 5 N: 382] (2400)
View More Pictures