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Lorenzo di Cione Ghiberti


Summary:  A brilliant 14th Century Italian artist.

Date:  Born: c. AD 1378; Died: 1 December 1455

Location:  Born in Pelargo, Italy.

Family: Father: Bartolo di Michele; Mother: Fiore

 - Introduction -


    Lorenzo di Cione Ghiberti was an incredibly talented sculptor born in AD 1378 in a city called Pelargo, Italy.  His father was a goldsmith who trained and encouraged Ghiberti in gold sculpting.  Ghiberti was very much a Renaissance* man, skillfully constructing reliefs and statues.  He died on December 1, 1455, at the ripe age of seventy-seven.  Undoubtedly, Ghiberti was one of Europe's truly brilliant artist.


 - Early Career -


    A brilliant sculptor from a young age, Ghiberti received his first commission (to sculpt) when he was just twenty-three!  In 1401, Lorenzo heard that there was a competition being held to make two bronze doors for the Florence Cathedral Baptistry (a special building used to administer Baptism).  He was one of seven artists who were tasked with constructing a representation of Abraham's 'sacrifice' of Isaac in the Bible.  Lorenzo won the competition and, after several years, he legally took over the prestigious commission.


 - The Story of Joseph -

    One of Ghiberti's many amazing sculptures is the Discovery of the Golden Cup, also known as the Story of Joseph.**  It is a panel from a selection of scenes on the Gates of Paradise in the Florence baptistry.  The Story of Joseph is made of gilded bronze and measures 79 x 79 centimetres. 


    This process of working with bronze was incredibly difficult and required much skill.  Once the mold was filled and the artwork formed, it was carefully covered with gold.  The picture appears to represent several scenes in one.  The Discovery of the Golden Cup was one of Ghiberti's most fantastic masterpieces.

    The Story of Joseph is intricately detailed and busy.  It depicts when Joseph was sold, when he became governor and when his cup was found in his younger brother Benjamin's bag simultaneously.  It is incredibly lifelike and makes one feel almost as if they were actually in Egypt during the hustle and bustle of past events.



1. Discovery of the Golden Cup. (n.d.). Retrieved from

2. Lorenzo Ghiberti. (2015, January 14). Retrieved from

3. GHIBERTI, Lorenzo - The Story of Joseph. (n.d.). Retrieved February 1, 2019, from

4. Fireplace Mantels See allchevron_right. (n.d.). Retrieved from

5. Lorenzo Ghiberti: Italian Sculptor. (n.d.). Retrieved July 10, 2019, from

Researched and Written By

Deeni and Cody Mitchell

Edited By

Cody Mitchell


Lorenzo Ghiberti was an incredibly talented 14th Century European artist best known for his famous sculpture "The Story of Joseph" or "the Discovery of the Golden Cup".

*The Renaissance was a time between the 14th and 17th Centuries AD when a dramatic 'rebirth' or rediscovery of classical literature, art and culture occurred.

**The story of Joseph that Ghiberti based his sculpture on is recorded for us in Genesis 37-50 (English Bible).

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