Statue of Brunelleschi

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Creator:  Luigi Pampaloni
Title: Statue of Fillipo Brunelleschi
Date: c.1838
Material: Marble
Repository:  Piazza del Duomo, Florence

This statue of Brunelleschi sits outside of the Duomo and features the architect of the dome gazing upwards at his magnificent creation, mechanical tool in hand.  It is almost as if he is still pondering the problems of its construction and determined to provide their solutions.  There is an adjacent statue in the Piazza del Duomo, also by Pampaloni, of the other great architect of the cathedral, Arnolfo di Cambio.  These two men share in the glory of the creation of Santa Maria del Fiore.

Filippo Brunelleschi died in 1446 and was given the great honor of being one of the only Florentines who was granted permission to be buried inside of Santa Maria del Fiore.  The stone slab of his tomb was found in 1972 during excavations to unearth the foundations of the former church of Santa Reparata. (Macadam, 58).  The inscription on his tomb states “Here lies the body of the great ingenious man Filippo Brunelleschi of Florence”.

Vasari writes that “his (Brunelleschi’s) death caused indescribable grief in his native city, which recognized and esteemed him more after death than it had done while he was alive, and he was buried with elaborate ceremony and the greatest honor in Santa Maria del Fiore”. (Vasari, 146)

Brunelleschi was one of the greatest minds of the Renaissance, and through his many building works throughout Florence, changed the course of architecture and engineering. As Ross King states, “Filippo’s work at Santa Maria del Fiore set architects on a different path and gave them a new social and intellectual esteem”. (King, 158)  Far from being anonymous artisans like architects and builders in the medieval period, Brunelleschi became known for his creations, and was the first architect to be acknowledged as a divine genius.  (King, 159)

Artists, sculptors, architects, engineers as diverse as Donatello, Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Masaccio, Uccello and countless others through the centuries have looked to the works of Filippo Brunelleschi and have been challenged and inspired by them.  Their prodigious works are the cultural heritage to which we are the grateful beneficiaries.  Standing in the shadow of these great works of art, sculpture and architecture we gaze at their beauty and remain in awe of the immense cultural treasury of the Italian Renaissance.

Works Cited:

King, R.  Brunelleschi’s Dome. Penguin.  2000
Macadam, A. Blue Guide Florence. Somerset Books. 2011
Vasari, G. The Lives of the Artists. Oxford University Press, translated by J.C. Bondanella and P. Bondanella. 2008

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