Little was documented at this time, and anything that was would struggle to survive to the present day. For this reason we have to be more creative when formulating a view on the artist's personality and behaviour.
Plenty more can be learnt from various books penned by artist Ghiberti, though we have chosen to keep these separate in his literature section. In those he discussed art history and commented upon major artists of the time and from previous centuries. These books are our best guide as to the influences upon his work, with classical art clearly being a major factor within that.
More documentation tends to be available on the donors to Early Renaissance artists, because most would be playing crucial roles in other areas of Florentine society. For these items we can then start to build up a second or third hand set of opinions on artists such as Ghiberti.
Some of the later, more high profile artists from the Renaissance have been researched in far greater detail than Ghiberti and, as a result, there is a reasonable amount of attributed quotes to them. Indeed, Michelangelo, for example, is even quoted discussing the work of Ghiberti himself.
There would have been a lot of discussion and collaboration within artist's studios, where communication was highly encouraged. Such conversations would rarely have been documented, though it was an opportunity for several famous names to meet up and share ideas.
Quotes by Lorenzo Ghiberti
The sculptor, and the painter also, should be trained in these liberal arts: grammar, geometry, philosophy, medicine, astronomy, perspective, history, anatomy, theory of design, arithmetic.
I strove to imitate nature as clearly as i could and with all the perspective i could produce.
When discussing his bronze doors for Florence's Baptistery of San Giovanni
Quotes on Lorenzo Ghiberti by Famous Artists and Art Historians
It is probably his connections to several other very famous sculptors plus the extraordinary series of sculptured panels on his Gates of Paradise that have made Ghiberti just so famous. The artist remains much researched and discussed even in the present day, with his relationship with Donatello and his influence on Renaissance sculpture of particular interest.
In order to give a better understanding of the impact made by this artist, as well as filling in blanks left by the lack of direct quotes available on artists from the early Renaissance, we have listed below a full selection of different opinions on the master.
Ghiberti in his writing as well as in his art was a vital link between the medieval Gothic past and the new world outlook he helped to create, the Renaissance. A son, Vittorio (1416-1496), continued the workshop after his father's death.
Ghiberti had cast buildings, creatures and people as real as if they had been frozen in time. He had reinvented the practice of casting in bronze and brought realism, emotion and drama to the stories of the Bible. Michelangelo later named them the Gates of Paradise.
PBS.org, discussing the impact of the sculptor's life
The commentaries demonstrate Ghiberti's confidence in his position as an important leader in the Florentine Renaissance—one interested in recapturing the art of the ancients and studying it as a humanist scholar would, and one who developed a new style all’antica in which he freely created artworks with a grace and beauty that have been found winning since their invention.
Britannica.com, discussing Ghiberti's literature
Ghiberti's career was dominated by his two successive commissions for pairs of bronze doors to the Florence Baptistery (Battistero di San Giovanni). They are recognized as a major masterpiece of the Early Renaissance, and were famous and influential from their unveiling.