ross king:
 brunelleschi's dome (walker & co.)
The year is 1418 and Florence, Italy has decided to complete itís new cathedral with a dome befitting its stature as one of the richest and most cultured cities in the world.  The merchant guild decides to hold a competition to determine who will be given the honor of designing and constructing the dome for the cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore.  To everyoneís surprise the winning design is submitted by an unknown goldsmith named Filippo Brunelleschi.

This is just the beginning of what is one of the most amazing stories Iíve ever read.  Not only does Brunelleschiís design win the competition, but also his design proposes a construction plan that would revolutionize architectural principles forever.   His ideas were so revolutionary that as the dome was built he had to develop new tools and machines to implement his ideas.  Many of these inventions have been cited as key factors in fanning the flames of the Renaissance.

If Ross King had stopped with simply telling the story of the domeís construction, the book would be readable.  However, Mr. King moves far beyond that by revealing the politics of the Arts during the Renaissance.  After reading this book one might wonder how anything ever got built, sculpted, or painted due to the extreme rivalry that existed between artists of the time.

Once all is said and done this book is about one manís efforts to complete one of the most ambitious building projects of all time.  The dome was Brunelleschiís life work and it took him over twenty-five years to complete it .  The fact that he could stay focused on his goal for so long with so many setbacks is a true inspiration.  And in case youíre still not impressed, the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore at 143 feet in diameter and over 340 feet tall is still the largest stone dome in the world.  No one has bested Brunelleschi in almost 600 yearsÖ

Charlie Bradshaw

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