Barry Jones, Andrea Sereni, and Massimo Ricci examine how Brunelleschi built the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence between 1420 and 1436. Building Brunelleschi's Dome: A Practical Methodology Verified by Experiment seeks to refute the widely circulated hypothesis that Brunelleschi set out to build the octagonal dome as if it were circular. This article describes the practical principles of an alternative hypothesis of radial construction, developed by Ricci, and it argues that Brunelleschi probably used a method based on these principles. This is supported by the experience of building a one-fifth-scale model of the dome, by evidence discovered within the dome during the recent fresco restoration, and by a fresh interpretation of a contemporary illustrated document prepared by Gherardo da Prato.
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