BRUNELLESCHI, briVnel-les'ke, FILIPPO (e.1379-1446). The founder of Renaissance archi tecture.. Be was born in Florence, Italy. He first learned the art of a goldsmith ; next, that of a sculptor; and finally devoted himself to archi tecture. Ile competed in 1401 for the bronze doors of the baptistery of Florence, hut was vanquished in the famous contest by Ghiberti (q.v.) ; the panel of the "Sacrifice of Isaac," which he presented, is preserved. lie was a real ist in sculpture, as is shown, among other works, by his Crucifix. Ilis goldsmith's work was good and somewhat akin to Gothic work; witness his share in the altar front in the Opera del Duomo. Having decided to study architecture and ancient ruins. he went to Rome with his young friend, Donatello (q.v.), who became afterwards the leader in Renaissance sculpture. His resident e in Rome during the greater part of the years be tween 1401 and 1417 was largely spent in study ing, drawing, and measuring the ancient buildings, width were then in comparatively good preservation. before the vandalism of the Renaissance had begun. Ile attempted not only to revive the classic style in its artistic form, but to master the mechanical knowledge that underlay it; at the same time he did not vio lently break with ruedifeval art, as was shown I his design for the facade of the Gothic Church of Santa :%laria Novella, in 1417 he returned to Florence as his permanent residence, and when it was proposed to complete the Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria del by the construction of the dome, he was one of the famous architects who presented models in the competition. Brunel leschi was able to demonstrate not only how defective all the other proposed domes were. hilt that his own was the only solution. The arehi tect was at first hampered by Ghiberti, a great sculptor but an incompetent architect, who was associated with him, but he soon became sole director. Evidently lie had reacquired some of
the skill in geometry as applied to architecture which had characterized the ancients and the Gothic architects of France. but in which the mediaeval Italian had been deficient. Brunel lesehi's dome was epoch-making—an octagonal double-shell dome, crowned by a lantern, and measuring 42 feet in diameter. Begun in 1420, the dome was completed in 1436. It was the greatest feat of mechanical skill then attempted in Italy. At almost the same time BrunelIeschi began the Church of San Lorenzo (1420), in which he revived the really antique type of basi lica (q.v.). with classic details, except for the use of internal round arches. Much later, in 1436, he commenced another ha,ilica, Santo Spi ritos which he did not have the opportunity to carry out. But the gem of his art, in which both conception and execution were his, is the Paz•i Chapel at Santa Croce (14:30), in the form of a Greek cross surmounted by a dome, with a charming vestibule with dome and tunnel Va ul t. The second cloister of Santa Croce. the Nadia at Fiesole, the Loggia degli Innocenti, the Palazzo di Parte Guelfa, are proofs of his leader ship in Florentine architecture up to the time of his death. His tinal masterpiece, begun in 1444, was the Pitti Palace, the most impres sive and ruggedly majestic of Italian palaces. Brunellesehi trained several great architects who took up the work and carried it forward; chief of them was Michelozzi (q.v.). For his biogra phy consult: Ala netti, edited by .,loreni (Flor ence, 1812) ; Fabriczy (Stuttgart, 1892) ; and Scott (London, 1901).