Donatello, The Master Sculptor Of The Renaissance

1414 words - 6 pages

Donatello (1386-1466) was a master of sculpture in bronze and marble and was one of the greatest Italian Renaissance artists of his time.A lot is known about his life and career but little is known about his character and personality. He never married and seems to be a man of simple tastes. Patrons often found him hard to deal with and he demanded a lot of artistic freedom. The inscriptions and signatures on his works are among the earliest examples of classical Roman lettering. He had a more detailed range of knowledge of ancient sculpture than any other artist of his time. His work was inspired by ancient visual examples which he often transformed, he was really viewed as a realist ...view middle of the document...

The statues were of beardless and bearded prophets as well as a group of Abraham and Isaac in 1416-1421 and also the 'Zuccone' and 'Jeremiah'. 'Zuccone' is famous as the finest of the campanile statues and one of the artist's masterpieces.Donatello invented his own bold new mode of relief in his marble panel ' St. George Killing The Dragon' (1416-1417). The technique involved shallow carving throughout, which created a more striking effect than in his earlier works. He no longer modelled his shapes but he seemed to 'paint' them with his chisel.Donatello continued to explore the possibilities of the new technique he would use in his marble reliefs of the 1420's and early 1430's. The best of these were ' The Ascension, with Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter,' the ' Feast of Herod' (1433-1435), the large stucco roundels with scenes from the life of St. John the Evangelist (1434-1437), and the dome of the old sacristy of S. Lorenzo shows the same technique but with colour added.Donatello had also become a major sculptor in bronze. His earliest work of this was the more than life size statue of St. Louis (1423) which was replaced half a century later. Donatello in partnership with Michelozzo helped with fine bronze effigy on the tomb of the pope John XXIII in the baptistery, the 'Assumption of the Virgin' on the Brancacci tomb and the dancing angels on the outdoor pulpit of the Prato Cathedral (1433-1438). His departure from the standards of Brunelleschi did not go to well between the two old friends and was never repaired. Brunelleschi even made epigrams against Donatello.During his partnership with Michelozzo, Donatello made works of pure sculpture, including several works of bronze. The earliest and most important of these was the 'Feast of Herod' (1423-1427). He also made two statuettes of Virtues and then three nude child angels (one which was stolen and is now in the Berlin museum). These statues prepared the way for the bronze statue of David, the first large scale, free-standing nude statue of the Renaissance. It was the most classical of Donatello's works and was done for a private patron. Its recorded history begins with the wedding of Lorenzo the magnificent in 1469, when it was placed in the courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio.Whether the 'David' was requested by the Medici or not, Donatello worked for them (1433-1443), producing sculptural decorations for the Old Sacristy in S. Lorenzo, the Medici church. Works there included ten large reliefs in coloured stucco and two sets of small bronze doors which showed saints.Paduan period. In 1443 Donatello was about to start work on two more bronze doors for the cathedral. He started work on a statue of Erasmo da Narmi, called Gattamelata, who had died shortly before. Donatello did most of the work on the statue between 1447 and 1450 but the statue was not placed on the pedestal until 1453. It shows him in classical armour, the baton of command in his raised right ha...

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