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Donatello

1386-1466 Italy/Early Renaissance

 

Brief Biography-Donatello was a sculptor and specialist of the ancient arts and rated as highly as Michelangelo, who came after him. He trained in the studio of Lorenzo Ghiberti, whose most remarkable feat was the doors of the baptistery of the Cathedral of Florence. Donatello worked on the first doors in 1403 before working with Nanni di Banco in the Cathedral. Filippo Brunelleschi befriended him and tutored him in sculpture while visiting Rome to study the classical remains. Early Christian and pagan Roman art influenced him. He made a lasting impression on Italian artists, including Michelangelo, particularly with his science of perspective in sculptures, evident in the statue of Saint John the Evangelist in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, where the view is from below. His figures of Saint George and Saint Mark in the niches at the Orsanmichele show examples of the introduction of contrapposto in renaissance art from the Hellenistic and Imperial Roman periods. It is particularly evident in his bronze statue of David, Michelangelo's statue of David being the most famous example today. One of Donatello's most popular figures is the Statue of the Prophet Habakkuk, known as "Lo Zucone," or "The Fool." The face appears to be preaching a terrible unspecified prophecy to an unknown audience; naturally, there are other interpretations to its mystifying expression. It stands in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. The Brancacci Tomb shows Donatello using the opportunities of a combination of shallow relief "Rilievo schiacciato," Flattened out, with the perspective effects. It is a form of low carving that the sculptor appears to paint with his chisel, which blind people can read with their fingertips.

 

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david at
the bargello

david at the bargell

funeral monument of
cardinal brancacci

funeral monument of cardinal rainaldo brancacci

judith
and holoferne

judith and holoferne


prophet habakkuk

prophet habakkuk


saint george

saint george

saint john the
evangelist

saint john the evangelist


saint mark

saint mark