Person: Brunelleschi, Filippo
Filippo Brunelleschi was a Florentine artist and architect best known for the dome of Florence's cathedral.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Certainly Brunellesco would have liked Filippo to have studied law with the aim of becoming a notary like himself but he was attracted to an artistic career and determined to follow that route.
- Brunelleschi trained as a goldsmith and sculptor in a workshop in Florence, beginning his apprenticeship in 1392.
- He also brought out Brunelleschi's interest in technology which he would put to good use later in his career.
- While teaching at the Arte della Seta in 1401 Brunelleschi entered a competition proposed by the Lord of Florence to design the bronze doors of the Florence Baptistery.
- Brunelleschi was one of seven artists who entered the competition but despite the high quality of his work he did not win.
- His panel was rated equal to that of Lorenzo Ghiberti, but Ghiberti was given charge of the commission with Brunelleschi proposed as his assistant.
- The magnificent panels produced by both Ghiberti and Brunelleschi can still be seen in the Bargello Museum housed in the Palazzo del Bargello in Florence.
- Filippo kept quiet for a few months while he worked on a wooden crucifix of the same size ...
- Brunelleschi's most important achievement in mathematics came around 1415 when he rediscovered the principles of linear perspective using mirrors.
- These perspective drawings by Brunelleschi have since been lost but a "Trinity" fresco by Masaccio still exists which uses Brunelleschi's mathematical principles.
- The nature of the mathematical techniques that we found to have been employed tends to confirm the conventional view that Brunelleschi made some contribution to the picture, and, further, leads us to suggest that Brunelleschi's discovery in regard to perspective may have been the existence and properties of the centric point.
- From about 1409 onwards Brunelleschi became interested in the partially completed Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore, the Cathedral in Florence.
- When Brunelleschi became interested in the project the main problem facing the architects was the construction of the dome.
- Huge engineering problems faced the placing of a dome on the octagonal Baptistry, and much argument had taken place on how to solve this and Brunelleschi set to work on finding an innovative solution.
- From his youth Brunelleschi had been interested in mechanical devices, in particular clocks, wheels, gears and weights.
- Brunelleschi proposed a double self-supporting shell and a rib structure to support the enormous weight.
- The competition to be awarded the commission was tough and Brunelleschi again had to compete against Ghiberti.
- In 1420 Brunelleschi was awarded the commission and construction began.
- It was still a lengthy construction process, but by the time Brunelleschi died in 1446 the dome was almost completely finished.
- It was built following Brunelleschi's specifications after his death.
- Although the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore was the most famous of Brunelleschi's architectural achievements, there are many other examples of his stunning architecture in Florence.
- Plans for the church already existed in 1419 when Brunelleschi was employed by Cosimo de' Medici to build the sacristy but within a year Brunelleschi was given the commission to redesign and build the whole Church.
- The church was completed after Brunelleschi's death, one of his pupils taking over the work on the nave and dome.
- Another famous work by Brunelleschi was the Pazzi Chapel.
- Brunelleschi has yet more claims to fame.
Born 1377, Florence (now Italy). Died 15 April 1446, Florence (now Italy).
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Architecture, Geometry, Origin Italy
Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive