Filippo Brunelleschi (Italian: [fiˈlippo brunelˈleski]; 1377 – April 15, 1446) was an Italian designer and a key figure in architecture, recognised to be the first modern engineer, planner and sole construction supervisor.He was the oldest amongst the founding fathers of the Renaissance. He is generally well known for developing a technique for linear perspective in art and for building the dome of the Florence Cathedral. Heavily depending on mirrors and geometry, to “reinforce Christian spiritual ‘reality'”, his formulation of linear perspective governed pictorial depiction of space until the late 19th century. It also had the most profound – and quite unanticipated – influence on the rise of modern science. His accomplishments also include other architectural works, sculpture, mathematics, engineering, and ship design. His principal surviving works are to be found in Florence, Italy. Unfortunately, his two original linear perspective panels have been lost.

Brunelleschi was born in Florence, Italy. Little is known about his early life, the only sources being Antonio Manetti and Giorgio Vasari. According to these sources, Filippo’s father was Brunellesco di Lippo, a notary, and his mother was Giuliana Spini. Filippo was the middle of their three children. The young Filippo was given a literary and mathematical education intended to enable him to follow in the footsteps of his father, a civil servant. Being artistically inclined, however, Filippo enrolled in the Arte della Seta, the silk merchants’ Guild, which also included goldsmiths, metalworkers, and bronze workers. He became a master goldsmith in 1398. It was thus not a coincidence that his first important building commission, the Ospedale degli Innocenti, came from the guild to which he belonged.

In 1401, Brunelleschi entered a competition to design a new set of bronze doors for the Florence Baptistery. Seven competitors each produced a gilded bronze panel, depicting the Sacrifice of Isaac. Brunelleschi’s entry, which, with that of Lorenzo Ghiberti, is one of only two to have survived, made reference to the Greco-Roman Boy with Thorn. Brunelleschi’s panel consists of several pieces bolted to the back plate.

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