Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise: a masterpiece in Florence

Porta del Paradiso | musei Firenze

There is a masterpiece in Firenze that carries with it the charm and mystery of Paradise. With this post I want to take you into the magical world of Ghiberti’s Gate of Paradise, an extraordinary creation that has become a symbol of art in the 15th century and of rebirth, which has fascinated generations of beauty lovers.

Ready to explore the details and curiosities of this splendid work of art? Let’s waste no more time, let’s start our adventure!

Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise: a masterpiece in Florence

Porta del Paradiso di Ghiberti | musei Firenze

Lorenzo Ghiberti, known for his artistic mastery, distinguished himself already in the realisation of the second of the Three Doors of the Baptistery of Florence, in 1425. His talent did not go unnoticed, so much so that he was commissioned to create the last door of the building, which later became famous as the Gates of Paradise. A titanic commitment of 25 years led him to the creation of a work that would upset the compositional schemes of art, fully embodying Renaissance ideals.


The features that make Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise unique are many. Ten large panels, an innovation compared to the traditional 28 panels of the other doors, house over 50 scenes from the Old Testament.
Ghiberti used an extraordinary technique, moving from top to bottom relief to flattened relief to create a perspective effect that engages the visitor.

The scenes depicted are to be read from above, from left to right, progressively revealing the salvific role of God and the prefiguration of the coming of Christ. Curiously, some scenes seem to reflect historical events, such as the story of Joseph, recalling the history of Cosimo de’ Medici and the prosperity that characterised his era.


The grandeur and beauty of the Gates of Paradise did not go unnoticed.
Its position in front of the façade of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore, known as the paradisium, earned it the appellation attributed to it by Michelangelo himself who, when he saw it for the first time, was literally enchanted by Ghiberti’s work. Michelangelo Buonarroti considered the Gate of Paradise to be of such extraordinary workmanship that he compared it to the heavenly entrance to Paradise.

Michelangelo Buonarroti‘s words, which have entered art history, extolled the harmony of form, the perfection of detail and the mastery of the technique used by Ghiberti. This affectionate name, attributed almost in jest, helped to fix in culture and collective memory the prestige and magnificence of the Gates of Paradise, a work destined to shine for eternity.


The history of this magnificent work has not been without adversity. Although it withstood the Second World War, the 1966 flood caused serious damage to the Gate of Paradise, detaching six panels from the bronze frame. However, thanks to the careful work of restorers and art experts, the work was preserved and today a copy can be admired in the Baptistery, while the original is jealously guarded in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence. Here, the Door of Paradise still shines in its original magnificence, allowing us to travel back in time and immerse ourselves in the soul of Florentine Renaissance art. An opportunity to discover one of humanity’s most extraordinary works, fascinating and rich in symbolism.

Porta del Paradiso | Battistero di Firenze.

Porta del Paradiso, Battistero di Firenze.

I hope you enjoyed this post on Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise and that my passion for art made this a unique experience for you. Lorenzo Ghiberti’s work teaches us how art can be an eternal source of inspiration, a bridge between past and present.

I invite you to see Florence and its wonders, exploring the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo and being enchanted by the magnificence of the Gates of Paradise. I hope this visit is just the beginning of a journey for you to discover the wonders of art, culture and museums in Florence.

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