Florence Travel Guide

Gates of Paradise

The original Gates of Paradise, with reliefs inspired by the old testament depicted in ten panels, was restored in the last decade, while a perfect copy has been put in their place. For many years atmospheric agents and pollution covered them with a black patina. The doors now are bright and shiny and this is probably what they looked like when first placed in the Baptistery in 1425. Eventually they too will be covered by a gleam while the restored originals will remain carefully protected in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.

Schema of the Gates of Paradise

Creation of Adam and Eve. The Fall. The Expulsion from Paradise. Work of the first Sacrifice of Cain and Abel. Cain kills Abel. God reproves Caino
Noah and his family offering sacrifice after having left the ark. Drunkenness of Noah. The Angels appear to Abraham. Sacrifice of Isaac.
Birth of Esau and Jacob. Sale of the birthright of the first-born. Isaac orders Esau to go hunting. Rebekah counsels Jacob. Isaac is deceived. Joseph sold to the merchants. Discovery of the cup of gold in Benjamin's sack. Joseph reveals himself to his brothers.
On Mount Sinai Moses receives the Tables of the Law. The people of Israel in the River Jordan. The Fall of Jericho.
Battle against the Philistines. David kills Goliath. Solomon receives the Queen of Sheba.


Executed in the lost wax technique, the gates have figures nearly in the round with elements of their bodies coming from the background and details in very deep relief. Lorenzo Ghiberti used the medieval narrative method, however the sculptures are in classical style with influence of classical architecture and Renaissance realism in the gestures of the figures.

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