Filippo Brunelleschi (1377 – 1446) was born in the Italian city of Florence in 1377. His father, Brunellesco di Lippo Lapi, was a successful Florentine lawyer and notary who had been exiled from his native city for political reasons. His mother, Giuliana Spini, was a wealthy Florentine noblewoman.
Brunelleschi was educated in the traditional manner of the day, first by private tutors and then by attending the local Latin school. He later studied architecture and engineering, methods which he would put to good use in his future career.
In 1401, Brunelleschi entered a competition to design a set of bronze doors for the Baptistery of San Giovanni in Florence. Though he did not win the competition, his entry attracted the attention of the judges, who were so impressed with his work that they commissioned him to create a second set of doors.
Brunelleschi’s most famous work is the dome of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, which was completed in 1436. The cathedral had been under construction for over a century, and its original design called for a wooden roof. Brunelleschi devised a new method for constructing the dome that allowed it to be built without using any internal supports. This innovative design earned him widespread acclaim, and the dome remains one of the most recognizable landmarks in Florence.
Brunelleschi also made significant contributions to the field of optics. He is credited with inventing the linear perspective, a technique that allows artists to create the illusion of depth on a two-dimensional surface. He also designed and built the first ever set of optical instruments, known as the “Brunelleschi lens.”
Filippo Brunelleschi died in Florence in 1446. He was buried in the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, beneath the dome that bears his name.