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Florentine sculptor and architect, 1377 - 1446

The world having for so long been without artists of lofty soul or inspired talent, heaven ordained that it should receive from the hand of Filippo the greatest, the tallest, and the finest edifice of ancient and modern times, demonstrating that Tuscan genius, although moribund, was not yet dead.

"Donatello made a wooden crucifix which was placed in Santa Croce [and] he was anxious to hear Filippo's opinion of it; but Filippo told him that he had shown a peasant hanging on the cross. This provoked Donatello to retort: 'Get some wood and do it yourself"...Filippo kept quiet for a few months while he worked on a wooden crucifix of the same size...Today this work is in Santa Maria Novella." I-137
Crucifix, Santa Maria Novella
"[In the competition for the doors for the Baptistery] the panel by Filippo was almost as good [as Ghiberti's]: his scene of Abraham sacrificing Isaac showed a servant who, as he waits for Abraham and while the ass is grazing, is drawing a thorn from his foot." I-138

The Sacrifice of Isaac
"[In 1417] the wardens of works of Santa Maria del Fiore called a congress of local architects and engineers to discuss how to raise the cupola...Filippo's advice was that they should construct a frieze thirty feet high, with a large round window in each of its sides, since this would take the weight off the supports of the tribunes." I-144
Drum, Santa Maria del Fiore
"There were some who suggested that the best method would be to fill it with a mixture of earth and coins so that when it was raised those who wanted could help themselves to the earth, and in that way they would quickly remove it all without expense. Filippo alone said it could be raised without a great deal of woodwork, without piers or earth." I-145
Cupola, Santa Maria del Fiore
"The wardens said that his ideas were as mad as he was. Filippo took offence at this and said: 'What is necessary is that the cupola should be turned with the curve of a pointed arch and made double, with one vault inside and the other outside so that a man can walk upright between them..I can already envisage the complete vaulting and I know there is no way of doing it other than as I'm explaining.'" I-145
Between the vaults of the cupola
"They were incapable of grasping what he [meant], but showed themeselves inclined to give him the work. They did however want to see how the cupola could be raised without any centering..As it happens they were fortunate because Bartolommeo Barbardori wanted a chapel built in Santa Felicita and Filippo had had this chapel vaulted without using framework." I-148
Barbardori Chapel, Santa Felicita
Plan and elevation of Barbardori Chapel
"Filippo's scaffolding was put up with such intelligence and skill that it completely belied what people had been saying before, because the masons stood there, working safely and drawing up materials, as securely as if they were on solid earth. (The models of his scaffolding are preserved in the Office of Works)." I-154
Scaffolding for the cupola
"Everything was very carefully arranged...He had thought of irons for fixing scaffolding inside, in case there were a need to do mosaics or painting." I-157

Cupola interior
"He continued to make such progress that there was nothing, however difficult it might seem, that he did not make easy and simple. For example, by using counterweights and wheels for lifting he made it possible for a single ox to raise a load so heavy that previously it would hardly have been possible for six pairs of oxen to move it." I-157
Brunelleschi's machines

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