Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #42: Creativity

Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics.~Victor Pinchuk

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #42, Ann-Christine asks us to visualize creativity–which we can easily spot in all types of design–such as architecture and fashion– and in the creative arts–from cooking to floral arrangements.  But how do we define it?  It’s curiosity, it’s persistence, it’s originality, it’s daring, and sometimes, it’s the stubborn insistence in a vision beyond the scope of anything we’ve ever imagined.  This brings to mind of one of my heroes from the Renaissance, whose life and accomplishments define creativity for me.

Visitors to Florence often overlook this statue of a man gazing upward in intense concentration at his creation–the magnificent dome that crowns the Duomo (the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore).  Filippo Brunelleschi should not be ignored.  He solved an engineering and architectural puzzle that had confounded the greatest minds of Europe for over 100 years.  His solution to this problem helped to usher in the Renaissance in Florence and changed the course of architectural history for centuries.

Filippo Brunelleschi Gazing at his Magnificent Dome.

In 1418 when the Founding Fathers of Florence announced a contest to design the dome for the Duomo, they were flooded with applications.  But an unlikely candidate, the goldsmith, Filippo Brunelleschi, offered a possible solution to seemingly insurmountable problem–how to create a dome that was split into 8 wedges, in keeping with the building’s octagonal design.  It also had to cover a vast space and not collapse inward because of its weight.

A few years before, Brunelleschi, who was trained as a goldsmith, had lost another competition to design the Baptistry Doors directly opposite the Duomo.  The winner, Lorenzo Ghilberti, basked in the praise of the great leaders of his day.  But Brunelleschi was tenacious.  His curiosity and genius extended to other fields.  His study of architecture, mechanics and engineering helped him imagine a clever design, which incorporated two domes, one inside the other, which distributed and supported the vast weight.

Even though Brunelleschi won the competition, he faced other challenges. The Founding Fathers doubted there was enough wood in the Florentine hills to create a series of scaffolds to extend that high, so how could the heavy construction materials be hoisted up to the roof?   Brunelleschi solved that problem by inventing a 3-speed hoist that was capable of safely transporting heavy weights to great heights.  He faced other challenges–like the political scheming of his rival Ghilberti who was tasked with overseeing the construction of the dome with Brunelleschi.  Somehow this man, this creative genius overcame each obstacle.  In the end, he created a cultural icon that has dominated the Florence skyline for over 600 years and inspires millions of visitors (like me) with its beauty and graceful design.

Brunelleschi’s Dome at Sunset.

Great edifices, like great mountains, are the work of the ages. Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

Imaginative people from every era have had the important task of creating a cultural and historic record of their times, and establishing their place in the long history of our civilization through the ages.  In Paris, the great Cathedral of Notre Dame which housed 900 years of history, of creative talent is France’s cultural icon. This week, as we watched in sorrow and horror as Notre Dame burned for over 15 hours, we were reminded of the fragility of our cultural icons, our cultural heritage.  At the same time, we saw the determination of the French people and many citizens around the world to rebuild the cathedral and re-envision this masterpiece of Gothic architecture.

Notre Dame During the Blue Hour. Shot with a Google Pixel 2.

As I work on this post, I wonder which creative genius will step forward with a design for Notre Dame that will surprise and delight us with its originality, creativity, and beauty.  Like Brunelleschi, the creative artist will solve a myriad of challenges that seem insurmountable to us right now.  Like all of us, I am waiting for that creative vision of what’s possible.

In closing, I’d also like to thank our contributors for their delicious posts for last week’s challenge.  Your posts were a visual feast!  And thank you, Ann-Christine for this week’s wonderful “Creative” challenge.

If you want to read more about Brunelleschi, here’s a great article from The National Geographic Magazine.

All the images in this post were taken with the Fuji X-T2 and the Google Pixel 2.

37 replies »

    • Thank you so much, Tina! I’ve been fascinated by the rivalry between these 2 men and the genius of Brunelleschi. I’m going to try to go to the top of the dome this week. It’s been a while since I’ve been up there and I’d like to see it again–despite the long climb! Glad you found this interesting too. 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A great post, Patti! I love to read about Brunelleschi. Your post reminded me that he explained his idea of the dome with an egg… 🙂 Enjoy the climbing, we did it a few years ago. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Amy! I hadn’t heard of the analogy of the egg, but that’s a perfect way to describe it. You like to climb, don’t you–in Peru, in Florence….??? 🙂 🙂


    • Thank you, Sally! I am a big fan and wish I had studied it in school. But the same is true for art history! I’ll be thinking of you in your garden this week. 🙂


    • Thank you so much, Jane. I wish I had captured it on my Fuji, but I’m delighted with the result from the Google Pixel. The light was amazing. I’m just hopeful that the redesigned structure will be as beautiful and uplifting. Wishing you some great light too this week for your photo expeditions!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. nice take on the theme creative and you brought us hope with thinking about the future of natre dame:

    and wondering who will “step forward with a design for Notre Dame that will surprise and delight us with its originality, creativity, and beauty”
    bring it on..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So much creativity in the world – and you are such a creative person yourself! A great post of Brunelleschi and his solutions with the dome. Now I learned new things again, together with your gorgeous shots.
    Took me some time to answer, but I could not find your link to the post. Hope you are having some glorious climbing and a great and quirky festival!


  4. He achieved miracles, didn’t he? Standing there gazing up, it’s an image that will stay with me for a long time! And then from the heights on the other side of the river 🙂 🙂 We didn’t manage to climb the dome, sadly!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, Jo. I’m glad his image resonated with you too. I love it! I climbed the dome many years ago. The question remains whether I can do it now!! Um…not sure. Too much gelato, I think. 🙂 🙂


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