Gates Of Paradise Find Home In Kansas City

Kansas City is celebrating a wonderful gift: Ghiberti’s 15th-century Gates of Paradise. The original gilded doors were made for the east entrance of the baptistery in front of Florence Cathedral by Ghiberti and his workshop from 1425 to 1452. They depict scenes from the Old Testament and their startling virtuoso relief—figures are placed in landscapes or perspectivally rendered architecture to suggest depth—influenced generations of artists. When Michelangelo saw them, he said: “They are truly worthy to be the Gates of Paradise.” Now the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, is installing a bronze copy of the famous doors in its entrance hall. The museum’s director, Julián Zugazagoitia, describes the original doors as the starting point (“art history 101”) for understanding the Renaissance, and says his museum obtained its copy of them through “luck and serendipity”.

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