The story begins in the waning days of the fourteenth century, the Trecento, a time when the two masters were young, full of dreams and promise, and Florence herself -- already old and storied -- stood at a crossroads, not only in Italy but in the history of the western world, a crossroads that could only lead in one of two directions: destruction or rebirth.
The competition began with the creation of the door for the church of St. John the Baptist. Lorenzo Ghiberti, ayoung, unknown, and inexperienced painter, produced an elegant panel cast almost entirely in a single sheet of bronze. Filippo Brunelleschi, a local goldsmith, designed a far more dramatic and expressive panel that also drew considerable attention. In the end, Ghiberti was chosen to make the doors. Brunelleschi took a path that led him to rediscover the laws of perspective and reinvent the role of the architect.
Fifteen years later, the two artists faced off again in a contest to design the dome of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. After more than a century of planning and work, the enormous structure was nearing completion, yet a gaping hole lay awaiting the great cupola. It was to be the widest, heaviest, and highest dome ever constructed, and while no one doubted that it could be made, it was unsure who would rise to the challenge. This time, the wealthy patrons turned to Brunelleschi. His ingenious designs gained him the most important commission in the history of Florence, crowning the cathedral with a dome of such magnificence and beauty that it has become one of the most enduring symbols of the Renaissance.
In this lush, imaginative history -- a fascinating true story of artistic genius and personal triumph -- Paul Robert Walker brings to life two talented, passionate artists and the competitive drive that united and divided them. As it illuminates the drama surrounding the birth of a new artistic vision, the story also explores the lives of other fascinating individuals from Daonatello and Masaccio to Cosimo de' Medici and Leon Battista Alberti. The Feud That Sparked the Renaissance offers a glorious tour of fifteenth-century Florence, a bustling city on the verge of greatness, during a time of flourishing creativity....Continua