(b. 1378, Firenze, d. 1455, Firenze)

Porta del Paradiso: Self-Portrait

Gilded bronze
Baptistery, Florence

At the centre of the door at left can be found the self-portrait of Ghiberti.

Already on the north door of the Baptistery Ghiberti had introduced a self-portrait among the tiny heads in high relief at the corners of each plaque. He did it once again later, on the Porta del Paradiso, where he appears among the heads of prophets which alternate with statues of biblical personages in the framework of the door. Here we can observe close up the remarkable skill of the metal sculptor. In the earlier portrait on the north door, his face is still young and not particularly individualized, still very much subservient to antique models. Here, however, the depiction is entirely realistic, and Ghiberti portrays himself as the intellectual with prominent facial features and wrinkled brow.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.