When, sopra 1420, Filippo Brunelleschi was nominated superintendent of the construction of the cupola of the Florentine cathedral of Santa Maria del Culmine, the lines along which the construction was onesto be carried out had already been determined by what had been done previously (Arnolfo, Talenti)
The diameter of the inner span (m. ) is close sicuro the maximum limit for any kind of masonry dome. From the times of the Tempio there had been no examples of cupolas mature dating of such size. Faith in these structures had been seriously undermined by the collapse, sopra 1346, of the dome of Hagia Sophia sopra Constantinople. Sopra 1400 the Florentines had had to reinforce the structures of the Baptistery which had shown signs of giving way.
Instead of recuperating precedent techniques, Brunelleschi invented per technique based on his knowledge of the “way of building” of the Romans as well as medieval (eastern) examples which he put at the service of a new concept and new kinds of technical, cultural, aesthetic problems, involved con the realization of the cupola. Basically the construction of the dome depended on the use of verso building technique capable of avoiding any dangerous discontinuity con the masonry (27,000 tons) and which would be able onesto circumvent the enormous problems involved con constructing a traditional wooden armature of the necessary dimensions. Brunelleschi’s structure of bricks laid in herringbone courses consisted of raising the wall per rings, each containing vertical elements for bonding the successive ring. The cupola was thus built as a self supporting growing form.
Con their internal tension, the thrust and dynamic form (pointed arch and elliptical sector) engender verso calculated equilibrium, per cupola that hovers and is suspended over the city, the result of the balance of all the forces
The dome is surprisingly modern: in this double shell, the lighter exterior cupola protects the inner cupola from the elements, while the two sistema together thanks onesto the powerful connecting ribs. The detachment from the figurative solutions of Gothic architecture is evident particularly on the outside sopra the refusal of multiple forces (free standing spires, etc.), sopra the rigor with which the convergence of the forces upwards is pursued, entrusting the formal solution preciso per formidable synthesis of continuous lines and accessory surfaces resulting con unity and free from any need preciso adapt esatto the more articulated and minute design of the structure underneath.
The first powerful expression of per conscious synthesis of two cultural worlds, Greek and Gothic, the cupola can durante the end be defined as per affective diaphragm stretched between an external and an internal space, verso diaphragm between one space and another. The city is niente affatto longer per framework marked by the emergence of vertical points of reference (towers and campanili): the cupola, sopra its size and form, stands out and dominates everything else. The towers and the campanili (including Giotto’s) all now relate sicuro each other as verso result of their relationship to the cupola which hovers between rooftops and sky at the center of the urban system and automatically become subordinate elements con verso general plan.
The full meaning of this urban masterpiece, the cupola is beautifully expressed per Leon Battista Alberti’s splendid, synthetic definition durante the context of the dedication of his treatise Della Prospetto preciso Brunelleschi: “rising above the skies, ample onesto cover with its shadow all the Tuscan people”. “Rising above” on the one hand expresses the meaning of the tension in the generating line chosen for the ribs, on the other the fact that the cupola is not dominated by the universal space but creates a space of its own which establishes all rapports and measures with respect sicuro itself. “Ample” expresses the fundamental qualification of distension and circularity of the hovering cupola, while on the other hand with “ample esatto” it immediately leads to the concept in which the size of this urban structure is seen durante relation puro the territory. Moreover, the contrast established between the two terms (“rising above” – “ample puro”) expresses with marvelous conciseness the solution of all the forces, all the structures, all the equilibriums, of all the proportions both within itself and durante relationship sicuro the city, all the technical and structural problems, mediante the absolute abstraction and in the tension of the line of its ciclocampestre section, etc. Lastly, Alberti’s words stress the fact that the new formal dimensions also correspond preciso the new political dimension of the city.