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A biography of donatello born of donnato di niccolo di betto bardi in florence italy

See Article History Alternative Title: He never married and he seems to have been a man of simple tastes. Donatello seemingly demanded a measure of artistic freedom.

  • Mark for the guild church of Orsanmichele;
  • In both the Zuccone and the Jeremiah 1427—35 , their whole appearance, especially highly individual features inspired by ancient Roman portrait busts, suggests Classical orators of singular expressive force.

Although he knew a number of humanists well, the artist was not a cultured intellectual. His humanist friends attest that he was a connoisseur of ancient art. The inscriptions and signatures on his works are among the earliest examples of the revival of Classical Roman lettering. He had a more detailed and wide-ranging knowledge of ancient sculpture than any other artist of his day.

Paduan period

His work was inspired by ancient visual examples, which he often daringly transformed. Though he was traditionally viewed as essentially a realist, later research indicates he was much more.

It is not known how he began his career, but it seems likely that he learned stone carving from one of the sculptors working for the cathedral of Florence the Duomo about 1400. Sometime between 1404 and 1407 he became a member of the workshop of Lorenzo Ghibertia sculptor in bronze who in 1402 had won the competition for the doors of the Baptistery.

The David, originally intended for the cathedral, was moved in 1416 to the Palazzo Vecchio, the city hall, where it long stood as a civic-patriotic symbol, although from the 16th century on it was eclipsed by the gigantic David of Michelangelowhich served the same purpose. Still partly Gothic in style, other early works of Donatello are the impressive seated marble figure of St.

John the Evangelist 1408—15 for the Florence cathedral facade and a wooden crucifix 1406—08 in the church of Santa Croce. The latter, according to an unproved anecdotewas made in friendly competition with Filippo Brunelleschia sculptor and a noted architect. David, sculpture by Donatello, early 15th century. George both completed c.

George has been replaced by a copy; the original is now in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello. Here, for the first time since Classical antiquity and in striking contrast to medieval art, the human body is rendered as a self-activating functional organism, and the human personality is shown with a confidence in its own worth.

In both the Zuccone and the Jeremiah 1427—35their whole appearance, especially highly individual features inspired by ancient Roman portrait busts, suggests Classical orators of singular expressive force. The statues are so different from the traditional images of Old Testament prophets that by the end of the 15th century they could be mistaken for portrait statues.

George, bronze copy of a marble statue by Donatello, c.

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Donatello invented his own bold new mode of relief in his marble panel St. George Killing the Dragon 1416—17, base of the St. George niche at Orsanmichele. Donatello continued to explore the possibilities of the new technique in his marble reliefs of the 1420s and early 1430s.

Peter, which is so delicately carved that its full beauty can be seen only in a strongly raking light; and the Feast of Herod 1433—35with its perspective background. The large stucco roundels with scenes from the life of St. John the Evangelist about 1434—37below the dome of the old sacristy of San LorenzoFlorence, show the same technique but with colour added for better legibility at a distance. Meanwhile, Donatello had also become a major sculptor in bronze. His earliest such work was the more than life-size statue of St.

Louis of Toulouse c. About 1460 the St. Louis was transferred to Santa Croce and is now in the museum attached to the church. Early scholars had an unfavourable opinion of St.

Louis, but later opinion held it to be an achievement of the first rank, both technically and artistically. The garments completely hide the body of the figure, but Donatello successfully conveyed the impression of harmonious organic structure beneath the drapery.

Donatello had been commissioned to do not only the statue but the niche and its framework. Michelozzo was responsible for the architectural framework and the decorative sculpture. The architecture of these partnership projects resembles that of Brunelleschi and differs sharply from that of comparable works done by Donatello alone in the 1430s. All of his work done alone shows an unorthodox ornamental vocabulary drawn from both Classical and medieval sources and an un-Brunelleschian tendency to blur the distinction between the architectural and the sculptural elements.

His departure from the standards of Brunelleschi produced an estrangement between the two old friends that was never repaired. Brunelleschi even composed epigrams against Donatello. During his partnership with Michelozzo, Donatello carried out independent commissions of pure sculpture, including several works of bronze for the baptismal font of San Giovanni in Siena.

To the Siena font Donatello also contributed two statuettes of Virtues, austerely beautiful figures whose style points toward the Virgin and angel of the Santa Croce Annunciation, and three nude puttior child angels one of which was stolen and is now in the Berlin museum. These putti, evidently influenced by Etruscan bronze figurines, prepared the way for the bronze Davidthe first large-scale free-standing nude statue of the Renaissance. Well proportioned and superbly poised, it was conceived independently of any architectural setting.

The statue was undoubtedly done for a private patron, but his identity is in doubt. Its recorded history begins with the wedding of Lorenzo the Magnificent in 1469, when it occupied the centre of the courtyard of the Medici palace in Florence. After the expulsion of the Medici in 1496, the statue was placed in the courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio and eventually moved to the Bargello.

Whether or not the David was commissioned by the Medici, Donatello worked for them 1433—43producing sculptural decoration for the old sacristy in San Lorenzo, the Medici church. Works there included 10 large reliefs in coloured stucco and two sets of small bronze doors, which showed paired saints and apostles disputing with each other in vivid and even violent fashion.

Such a project was unprecedented—indeed, scandalous—for bronze equestrian monuments had been the sole prerogative of rulers since the days of the Roman Empire. The execution of the monument was plagued by delays. Donatello did most of the work between 1447 and 1450, yet the statue was not placed on its pedestal until 1453. It portrays Gattamelata in pseudo-Classical armour calmly astride his mount, the baton of command in his raised right hand.

The head is an idealized portrait with intellectual power and Roman nobility. This statue was the ancestor of all the equestrian monuments erected since.

Donatello Biography

Its fame, enhanced by the controversy, spread far and wide. Even before it was on public view, the king of Naples wanted Donatello to do the same kind of equestrian statue for him. Its richly decorated architectural framework of marble and limestone contains seven life-size bronze statues, 21 bronze reliefs of various sizes, and a large limestone relief, Entombment of Christ. The housing was destroyed a century later, and the present arrangement, dating from 1895, is wrong both aesthetically and historically.

The majestic Madonnawith an austere frontal pose seemingly a conscious reference to an earlier venerated image, and the delicate, sensitive St. Francis are particularly noteworthy. The finest of the reliefs are the four miracles of St. Anthonywonderfully rhythmic compositions of great narrative power. Donatello was apparently inactive during the last three years at Padua, the work for the San Antonio altar unpaid for and the Gattamelata monument not placed until 1453.

He had dismissed the large force of sculptors and stone masons used on these projects. Offers of other commissions reached him from MantuaModenaFerraraand even perhaps from Naplesbut nothing came of them.

  • Reproduced by permission of Archive Photos, Inc;
  • The first of these established a type of wall tomb burial chamber that would influence many later Florentine examples;
  • He was also commissioned to carve a Singing Gallery for the Cathedral to match the one already begun by Luca della Robbia both now in the Museo dell'Opera;
  • Donatello's equestrian statue of Gattamelata at Padua In 1443, Donatello was called to Padua by the heirs of the famous condottiero Erasmo da Narni better known as the Gattamelata, or "Honey-Cat" , who had died that year;
  • However, little detail is known with certainty about his private life, and no mention of his sexuality has been found in the Florentine archives in terms of denunciations [7] albeit which during this period are incomplete.

Clearly, Donatello was passing through a crisis that prevented him from working. Donatello completed only two works between 1450 and 1455: Both works show new insight into psychological reality. They included the dramatic bronze group Judith and Holofernes later acquired by the Medici and now in the Hall of Lilies in the Palazzo Vecchio and a bronze statue of St.

John the Baptist for Siena Cathedral, for which he also undertook in the late 1450s a pair of bronze doors. Only two reliefs for them were executed; one of them is probably the Lamentation panel now in the Victoria and Albert MuseumLondon. Covered with reliefs showing the passion of Christ, the pulpits are works of tremendous spiritual depth and complexity, even though some parts were left unfinished and had to be completed by lesser artists.