Sculpture: Paradise Regained

Michelangelo said that the doors might "fittingly stand at the gates of Paradise." All Florentines of the 1450s agreed that their Baptistery's portal sculpted by Lorenzo Ghiberti, was worthy of immortality. The double doors, 16 ft. by 9 ft., cast of bronze and overlaid with gold, held ten panels that told Old Testament tales in such grace ful relief that the metal seemed brushed on like oils.

Immortality has no guarantees on earth. Only the beauty of Ghiberti's doors saved them from centuries of soldiers smelting Renaissance masterworks into cannon. When World...

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