The religious icon stands calmly in the centre of the composition as he is baptised by John. Others look on to record this significant moment and a bird flies in from the skies, as seen in several other panels. The flight of the bird is more than just a decorative addition - it is to connect God the Almighty with those on Earth. It is repeated again in several of the higher panels on the left door.
Significantly, the bird also flies directly above Christ, as if underlining the importance of the son of God. The background foliage would have certainly been completed by the hand of Ghiberti as this was stipulated in the agreed contract. It was some of these detailed flourishes which particularly impressed the council when deciding upon who to award the commissioned piece too.
Ghiberti was paid handsomely for the completed doors, even the contract was extended when it became clear that the original ten year estimate was too short for this project. His assistants would also all be paid by the donor, as were the materials, meaning he could concentrate on what he did best - designing, leading and producing the sculptures.
The Baptism of Christ is, of course, a constant theme throughout the Renaissance as well as in the Baroque movement which followed soon after. This particular panel is not famous on its own, as the doors are referred to as a series in most cases, but there is still much to appreciate. Some of the other artists to have taken on this topic include the likes of Leonardo da Vinci with Andrea del Verrocchio, Piero della Francesca, Tintoretto, Pietro Perugino, Guido Reni, Andrea Mantegna and Gerard David. Religious institutions were often the major donors during these art movements and would commission the finest artists to recreate some of their scripture in a visual form.