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When Ghiberti and Brunelleschi presented their competing plaques about the Sacrifice of Isaac, the judges were unable to pick a winner, as they were awed by each artist's skill. Brunelleschi, however, did not want to work with Ghiberti and so left the competition, allowing Ghiberti to declare victory. But after examining the panels, it is possible to see how either man could have won. In Brunelleschi's panel emotion plays a key role. One can see Abraham clutching his son's throat. He wants to keep Isaac still so that he can fulfill the task God has assigned him. Isaac looks up at his father with fear - he is a young boy who has suddenly realized that his life is about to end. But perhaps the most dramatic action introduced by Brunelleschi is the angel's intervention. The angel's hand rests firmly on Abraham's wrist, pushing the blade away from Isaac, as Abraham has shown his loyalty to God. This powerful image of divine intervention had never been done before and this innovation was rewarded by the judges. History would reward Brunelleschi as well, as many artists - including Ghiberti when he designed the baptistery doors - would copy Brunelleschi's idea. Ghiberti's panel on the other hand uses organization and detail to succeed. A large ridge juts out from the panel, effectively dividing it in half. On the top side, Abraham, Isaac and the arriving angel engage in their dramatic action, while below, the two servants go about their business, unaware of what is happening. Using the mountain ridge to separate the two events makes Ghiberti's panel easier to understand. Similarly, Ghiberti uses unprecedented bronze work in order to craft the embroidery on Abraham's clothes and the gilding of the sacrificial altar. He even throws in a touch of realism - there is a small lizard darting between the mountain ridge. Ghiberti's separation of the servants from their master emphasizes how divine events may be happening around us, but we may not have the faith to be aware of them. Ghiberti would go on to have a successful career that combined artistry and skill. When designing Florence's Gates of Paradise, he used a technique called continuous representation, which allowed the viewer to see multiple scenes in one relief panel. An example of continuous representation can be found in Ghiberti's eighth panel, concerning Joshua and the fall of Jericho. On the lower left hand side, one can see the Ark of the Covenant being carried by the Israelites across the Jordan River. Next, we see the turbulent river remaining still as they cross over it. On the lower right hand side, the Israelites erect a monument to this river miracle. The Israelites then build tents, which are located on the middle of the right hand side. Afterwards, the viewer travels diagonally to the top left side, where Joshua and the Israelites attack Jericho by blowing trumpets. The scene finally ends at the top right side when Jericho's towers begin to fall. Despite refusing to work with Ghiberti, Brunelleschi would not fade into obscurity. In fact, he set his sights higher - to architecture. He became the master architect for the dome of Florence's duomo, or cathedral, and proceeded to construct a masterpiece. The octagonal dome was so impressive that Michelangelo, out of respect for Brunelleschi, did not make his dome of St. Peter's basilica as wide as the dome in Florence.
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