Photographer's Note

"Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture" is the title of a book by the best selling author Ross King. Released in 2000, the book topped the New York Times Best Seller list for countless weeks. He is one of my favorite modern authors, and one whom I would recommend to everyone.

Florence is pure magic, the birth place of the Italian Renaissance, home to the likes of Danté, Giotto, Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, Botticelli... and the titans of the Italian Renaissance, Leonardo and Michelangelo. For anyone who likes great art, this city has no equal. At the far left in the photo just barely visible is a corner of the Baptistry, with its famous "Doors of Paradise," created by Ghiberti. The intricately carved rectangular structure is the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, or simply "the Duomo," built during a 140-year period (1296-1436) to the design of Arnolfo di Cambio. Its bell tower, the Campanile, seen on the right was designed by the most prominent Early Renaissance genius, Giotto. Hence, it is simply known as "Giotto's Tower." But the most impressive component of the Duomo is the double-shell dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. Its shape is evocative of the pointed (narrow) end of an egg. Brunelleschi designed special hoists to raise tens of thousands of bricks, in assembling the dome from the outside. The cylindrical lantern crowning the dome is not just for looks, but it is crucial, serving as a keystone to give the dome structural strength, to keep it from caving in. The scale can be appreciated from the tourists seen milling around the lantern. Brunelleschi is famous for another monumental achievement. He is the first artist to formulate the theory of linear perspective.

Finally, Leonardo, as a 19-year old assistant to the sculptor André del Verrocchio, using hoists similar to those invented by Brunelleschi, supervised the placing of a 2.4 m diameter gilt copper ball on top of the lantern. It was this experience, as much as any other, that awakened in him a life-long passion for gadgetry and engineering.

I recommend the following site to enjoy a 360° view from the top of the dome.

I would like to dedicate this photo to Ross King whom I am proud to claim as a friend.

This image will be placed in a new group theme, DOMES. I Welcome others to contribute.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6809 W: 476 N: 12169] (41257)
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