Filippo’s Brunelleschi “Dome of Florence Cathedral”

Dome of Florence Cathedra

Dome of Florence Cathedra

In the fifteenth century the “Dome of Florence Cathedral” by Brunelleschi, had become the rich and vibrant lifestyle of Italian Renaissance culture. Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) was the architect and artist at the same time. He was the leader of a group of young Italian Renaissance artists who started creating a new art just to break the ideas of the past. In 1418 he won the Cathedral Vestry Board competition to design of the Florence Cathedral dome.

The church of Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral) was designed by Arnolfo Di Cambio in 1296. People of Florence began to build a glorious cathedral with huge space for a dome. But there was a problem because no one knew how to construct the dome. They made a model which was half built on the cathedral, just to show how the dome suppose to be. The people where praying and asking the God to send a man who will solve this puzzle. The man who took this challenge was Filippo Brunelleschi. The bell tower for the cathedral was designed in 1334 by Giotto Di Bondone . The bell tower was almost finished when Brunelleschi began work on the dome in 1420. Most people in Florence shook their heads and said it was impossible. There was no possible way to build a dome this big that will support itself. But Brunelleschi was brave and didn’t listen peoples talks.

The Florence Cathedral dome have over 4 million bricks and the structure hangs on a drum but not on the roof and this let the dome to be built without staging from the ground. The base of the dome is strained by horizontal chains of iron and wood. Brunelleschi’s design had two shells for the dome. The internal dome shell was made of a light weight material, and the external dome shell was made of heavier, wind and water resistant material. By creating these to kind of two domes, Brunelleschi solved the problem of weight. During the construction workers were able to sit on the top of internal shell and build the external shell of the dome. To support the dome Brunelleschi had put on temporary eight large and sixteen lighter wooden ribs. He moved these supports up as building progressed. The dome was build up course by course, each piece of the structure were supporting the next one. The secret of this giant structure’s balance lies in the knowledgeable jointing game that makes dome puzzling, but in same time perfect mechanical device. After two years when the Florence Cathedral dome was finished in 1436, he added white marble lantern on the top and it made the total dome height 114 meters. It was really impressive height for that era.

Before his dead, Brunelleschi was able to see his work practically finished, except for some decorations that was added later on. He was always aware that he had created a unique art and engineering masterpiece.

I think, that Brunelleschi did incredible job. The solutions for the dome were ingenious and innovative. Even today Brunelleschi’s Dome is the tallest building in Florence, over 600 years after it was built. Buildings like these make our world unique and beautiful. I wish there were architectural miracles like this one.

Work Sited:

Brenda Harness.”Fine Art Touch”. The Dome of Florence Cathedral by Brunelleschi. 2009.

Vincent Finnan. “”. Filippo Brunelleschi
Italian Renaissance architect. 2008-2010.

Alex Simon. “Brunelleschi’s Dome”. Brunelleschi’s Dome in Florence.

Jennifer Brown. ” Brunelleschi’s Dome”. Welcome to the Brunelleschi’s Dome Web Site. 2002.


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