Donatello 1386-1466


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DONATELLO

  • 1386-1466


Donato di Niccolo Bardi, known as Donatello was one of the most influential, artists of the Italian Renaissance. Not much is known about Donatello’s life except for that he was very gifted from the start. Born into a family of wood carders, he developed his skills at a very young age. Giorgio Vasari’s book Lives of the Artists has many short stories about his life, but none can be proven true. Donatello first became an apprentice for Lorenzo Ghiberti, but soon went to sculpt bronze reliefs on the doors of the Florentine Baptistery.

  • Donato di Niccolo Bardi, known as Donatello was one of the most influential, artists of the Italian Renaissance. Not much is known about Donatello’s life except for that he was very gifted from the start. Born into a family of wood carders, he developed his skills at a very young age. Giorgio Vasari’s book Lives of the Artists has many short stories about his life, but none can be proven true. Donatello first became an apprentice for Lorenzo Ghiberti, but soon went to sculpt bronze reliefs on the doors of the Florentine Baptistery.

  • Donatello’s earliest; most famous work of art is his statue of David. Done in the gothic style, David was dramatic, had given off much energy, and had a graceful feel with soft curved lines. The statue of David stood as a civic-patriotic symbol in the Palazzo Vecchio before being replaced with Michelangelo’s version. Donatello had many other works in the course of the next few years, including the marble statues of St. John the Evangelist, St. Mark, St. George, and in bronze a statue of St. Louis of Toulouse. Donatello soon teamed up with Michelozzo, a sculptor and architect. Together, they created very pure sculptures including the Feast of Herod, which first displayed Donatello’s use of linear perspective.

  • After Donatello left Michelozzo, and went to work in Padua, his last three years there he was very stationary with his art. He was going through a crisis that kept him from doing his artwork. He was quoted as saying he almost died from the “frogs in Padua”. He was then soon treated and created the wooden statue of John the Baptist. Donatello changed Florence’s view on art when he returned. Donatello returned sick and died in December of 1466 while he was working on twin bronze pulpits for San Lorenzo. Donatello still to this day, along with many others is one of the most significant artists of not only the Italian Renaissance period, but of all time.



Statue of David

  • Influenced by northern European Art, this statue of David was one of Donatello’s earliest and most famous works. Sculpted from Bronze in the Gothic style, it was a very feminine and unusual sculpture for this time. David is the first self-supporting nude male statue and the first unsupported bronze statue in the Renaissance period. Inspired by Lorenzo Ghiberti, Donatello has produced two versions of the David statue. Taken in 2008 for renovations, David is now displayed in the Bargello.

  • The story behind this famous sculpture is to portray David stepping on Goliath’s head after his victorious win against him; only wearing a hat and boots bearing Goliath’s sword. David’s stance portrays that Goliath was no threat to him, and being fully naked portrays the idea that god is present. This was very controversial at the time. Because David is naked, and because of the feather wrapped around his leg, it was thought of as a homosexual statue. At the time, sodomy was illegal which made this type of artwork very risky to display.



St. Mark

  • Sculpted in marble, this statue of St. Mark was one of Donatello’s three deal contributions to the Orsanmichele Church in Florence. Although, when Donatello had finished this sculpture, the committee asked him to change it. He did not change his work, but replied with “they were not viewing it from the right angle and that it would look fine once it was in place”. Donatello made the torso elongated and the legs shorter so when it was viewed by people, it would look proportionate. After Michelangelo viewed the sculpture he said he had “never seen a more convincing image of an honest man than this statue”

  • Donatello was noted for his use of detailed realism, and his extreme skill shows in this sculpture by the way you see the veins in his left hand. A very naturalistic and new Renaissance style was used. Donatello used classical ideas and his own knowledge to create a unique but traditional sculpture of St. Mark.



St. John the Evangelist

  • This wooden statue of St. John the Evangelist portrays many fine details and new techniques from the Renaissance period including schiacciato (flattened out); created by Donatello. This type of technique gave a feeling of depth to the sculpture. The statue was made for the Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari Church of Venice, along with many other pieces of art.



BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • "St. John the Evangelist." St. John the Evangelist. Web. 15 Oct. 2009. .

  • St. John the Evangelist. Web. 15 Oct. 2009. .

  • Art: Early Renaissance: II. Web. 15 Oct. 2009. .

  • Comparison of Donatello’s St. Mark. Web. 15 Oct. 2009. .

  • St. Mark. Web. 15 Oct. 2009. .

  • Donatello. Web. 15 Oct. 2009. .

  • Donatello. Web. 15 Oct. 2009. .

  • David Donatello. Web. 15 Oct. 2009. .





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