Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Do you know Filippo Brunelleschi?

Da Vinci and Columbus get a lot of respect. But, both drew inspiration from Brunelleschi’s designs.   

One of history’s greatest architects and inventors, Brunelleschi is best known for Santa Maria del Fiore’s soaring dome in Florence, better known as “the duomo.”  Finished in 1436, it took 16 years to build and still holds the title of the largest brick and mortar dome in the world.   

Da Vinci sketched hoists and cranes that Brunelleschi designed to build the duomo, while Columbus used navigation technology gleaned from sun experiments atop the duomo.  Filippo is also credited with the first patent and the invention of one-point linear perspective. He is fittingly laid to rest in Santa Maria del Fiore.  This short, homely, unmarried, paranoid man is well described in Ross King’s Brunelleschi’s Dome.  A quick and entertaining read for anyone that has climbed between the dome’s shells and emerged atop the cupola with all of Florence spread out below them.  King does a bang up job describing the intricacies of his inventions without causing your eyes to glaze over.  

Other significant Brunelleschi designs:
Oespedale degli Innocenti
Pazzi Chapel, Santa Croce
Basilicas of Santo Spirito and San Lorenzo