dome of the Florence Cathedral

Renaissance architect, engineer, and professional cranky guy Filippo Brunelleschi

Filippo Brunelleschi (1377 – April 15, 1446) – one of the foremost architects and engineers of the Italian Renaissance. He is perhaps most famous for his development of linear perspective and for engineering the dome of the Florence Cathedral, but his accomplishments also include other architectural works, sculpture, mathematics, engineering and even ship design.

He also issued one of the first patents for the hoist in an attempt to prevent theft of his ideas. Brunelleschi was granted the first modern patent for his invention of a river transport vessel.

Florence Cathedral

Cathedral dome – Florence

Filippo Brunelleschi, cutaway of the Dome of Florence Cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore), 1414-36

Brunelleschi used more than 4 million bricks in the construction of the dome. He invented a new hoisting machine for raising the masonry needed for the dome. Brunelleschi kept his workers up in the building during their breaks and brought food and wine up to them. He felt the trip up and down the hundreds of stairs would exhaust them and reduce their productivity. In a further attempt to motivate the workers, he gave them diluted wine.

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