Flippo Brunelleschi Background

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Filippo Brunelleschi’s background was quite unassuming and would have been typical of a great many of the great Renaissance men. He was born in 1377 in Florence Italy. His father was a notary who worked in the civil service and it was planned that Filippo would eventually follow in his footsteps. However, when Filippo showed talents in Engineering it was decided he would undertake an apprenticeship in the workshop of a family friend, a goldsmith named Benincasa Lotti. In the late fourteenth century a studio system of workshops developed that would prove integral to the economic and cultural prosperity of Northern Italy. The system involved a combination of scholarly learning with an apprenticeship in more practical skills like sculpture, painting…show more content…
He intermittently spent the next 15 years in Rome exploring and surveying the monuments and ruins of the ancient city. He spent a great deal of time measuring and calculating the proportions of columns and pediments that had been invented by the Greeks and refined by the Romans. He was not the first person to study the ancient ruins of Rome but he was almost certainly the first to closely study the structural and engineering principals used by the Romans. He would have taken particular interest in the structural methods used by the Romans to vault large spaces. He would have seen perfect examples all across Rome including The Golden house of Nero and more impressive still The Pantheon. The dome of the Pantheon was colossal, spanning 44 metres internally and the same distance in height. Brunelleschi would have taken great interest in how the Romans counteracted the Compressive and tensile forces exerted by a dome of this size. How did they counteract the Hoop stress that all domed buildings suffer from? How did they make the dome as light as possible to reduce this stress? Brunelleschi would have studied these domes in great detail. He would have been well aware that back in Florence construction was continuing on the Cathedral De Santa Maria del Fiore, started in 1296, which had in its design an enormous dome over the copula. He would also have been aware that no one in Florence at that time was…show more content…
He was commissioned to design a new crane for the construction site to lift the large blocks of stone and bricks up the height of the dome. He created a design for a hoist that would be powered by oxen. His hoist was remarkable for its size but also for the innovations within its design. These included a reversible gear, an innovation that there is no evidence of previous to this. In a traditional hoist the oxen moved in a circle to raise the blocks of sandstone up on ropes, the oxen would then have to be unhooked and turned around to lower the ropes again. Brunelleschi’s reversible gear meant the oxen would not need to be unhooked and turned; this saved a huge amount of time. There can be no doubt that Brunelleschi’s background in clock making and experimentation with gears and pulleys contributed massively to the innovations of the ox
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