Italian designer and architect Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) is considered to be one of the most influential artists of the Renaissance. He’s sometimes referred to as the founding father of Renaissance architecture.
Apart from being one of the first engineers and construction supervisors in modern history, he also developed the mathematical technique of linear perspective, something that radically changed the world of art for centuries to come.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the most famous Filippo Brunelleschi works, all of which are located in Florence, so that you can get a good understanding of this genius who lived in one of the most fascinating periods in human history.
1. Florence Cathedral dome
The dome of Florence Cathedral, one of the most famous churches in the world, is without a doubt the most remarkable achievement of Filippo Brunelleschi and was completed between 1419 and 1436.
It’s one of the most famous domes in the world and the first dome of its kind that was completed since antiquity, taking inspiration from the dome of the Pantheon in Rome.
2. Florence Cathedral lantern
Once the dome was completed, Brunelleschi spent the remainder of his life on some other projects related to the cathedral, one of which was the lantern on top of the dome.
Work on the lantern which sits on top of the dome commenced in 1446, one year before he passed away, and was completed in 1461. It’s the ultimate cherry on a cake that consists of 4 million bricks and one of the most famous Filippo Brunelleschi works which still fascinates historians today!
3. Florence Cathedral exedra
The final elements that are credited to Brunelleschi regarding Florence Cathedral are the 4 exedrae which were completed between 1439 and 1445. These are set against the drum of the main dome.
These 4 small half-domes are purely decorative and give the impression of a stairway of domes moving up the cathedral. They are heavily decorated and became the inspiration for some of the most famous buildings of the High Renaissance, including the Tempietto by Donato Bramante and later the Saint Peter’s Basilica as well.
4. Ospedale degli Innocenti
The Ospedale degli Innocenti or “Hospital of the Innocents” is a building that was originally constructed as a children’s orphanage and was completed between 1419 and 1445.
The building is renowned for its nine semicircular arches which were built on top of columns of the Composite order. It’s considered to be one of the earliest Renaissance buildings in history and is home to a small museum with Renaissance art today.
5. Basilica of San Lorenzo
The Basilica of San Lorenzo is another famous church in Florence that was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. It’s one of the largest churches in the city and is located right in the center of the market district of Florence. Construction started in 1419 but it was only completed in the 1480s, long after Brunelleschi had passed away.
The church was constructed on top of one of the oldest churches in the city as it was originally consecrated in the year 393. The building is part of a larger complex which also includes the Laurentian Library, designed by Michelangelo, among other buildings. The church is decorated with sculptures by Donatello as well.
6. Old Sacristy of San Lorenzo
The Basilica of San Lorenzo also serves as the burial place of many members of the ruling family of Florence at the time, the Medici’s. They are the ones who commissioned the Old Sacristy of the church, which served as their tomb.
The Sagrestia Vecchia, which was completed between 1421 and 1440, is considered to be one of the most important buildings in early Italian Renaissance architecture. It’s one of the most famous Filippo Brunelleschi works and formed the inspiration of countless buildings to follow!
7. Palazzo di Parte Guelfa hall
The Palazzo di Parte Guelfa is a historic building in Florence that used to serve as the headquarters of the Guelph party in the city. It was built during the Middle Ages in the 13th century.
Brunelleschi is credited with the design of the hall on the first floor which was built between 1420 and 1445. Multiple additions were made to the building later on and it has been restored several times over the centuries.
8. Santa Maria degli Angeli
The Santa Maria degli Angeli is a former church of a monastery with the same name in Florence. It was partially designed by Brunelleschi and construction of the building started in 1434 but was never finished.
The part of the church that is credited to Brunelleschi is the so-called “Rotonda degli Scolari,” which was to serve as the oratory of the monastery. Construction was halted in 1437 due to funding problems so the intention to build an octagonal, domed space, surrounded by 8 other spaces, was never achieved.
9. Basilica di Santo Spirito
The Basilica di Santo Spirito is often referred to as simply the “Santo Spirito” is yet another church in Florence that was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. He started creating designs as early as 1428, but construction didn’t start until 1444, just 3 years before the main architect passed away.
The huge church has an interior length of 97 meters (318 feet) and is one of the finest examples of early Renaissance architecture. The façade as intended by Brunelleschi was never completed and left completely blank and the church was finally completed in the year 1887.
10. Pazzi Chapel
The Pazzi Chapel is located in the “first cloister” on the southern edge of the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence, the principal Franciscan church in Florence, and a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church. It was commissioned by Andrea Pazzi, the head of the Pazzi family and one of the wealthiest men in Florence at the time.
Construction of the chapel started in the year 1442 and was already completed a year later in 1443. This magnificent chapel is considered to be one of the absolute masterpieces of Renaissance architecture and one of the most famous Filippo Brunelleschi works!