Born Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi
c. 1386
Florence, Italy
Died Dec. 13 1466 (at age 80)
Florence, Italy
Nationality Florentine, Italian
Education Lorenzo Ghiberti
Movement Early Renaissance
Field Sculpture
Famous Artwork by Donatello
Saint Mark
The Feast of Herod
Equestrian statue of Gattamelata
Judith and Holofernes

There are many artists when it comes to Florentine Art. One noted artist of that era was none other than Donatello (1386-1466). Though he was not as popular an artist as Michelangelo, he was noted for his marvelous details in terms of sculptures and statues. His works mainly comprise of low relief statues, usually from wood of bronze. Though his artworks seemed insignificant, the main points of his work were the details he emphasized in these small art marvels.

Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardi was known to the art world as Donatello and was born around circa 1386 in Florence, Italy. He was one of the forerunners of Florentine Art, which also paved way for the age of Renaissance Art. His specialty was more in sculptures and statuettes than painting. His works were also noted to have the concept of perspectival illusionism when it came to his shallow relief.

He was the child of a member of the then guild of Wool Combers in Florence. It was then that he was eventually educated and schooled in the home of the Martellis, where he might have received early art training from a goldsmith, and finally working for a famous metalworker and sculptor’s studio who was none other than Lorenzo Ghiberti.

There were no known commentaries on his private life, though it was said that he had no regret saying that he was in fact a homosexual. And strangely enough, there was not a mention about his sexuality and preferences discovered in the archives of Florence.

His early works may have started with working closely with the said sculptor, whose work then was the construction of the prophets along the northern portion of the Florentine Baptistery, which he then received salary from November 1406 until the first few months of the year 1408 AD. By the years 1409 until 1411, he was able to finish the large seated statue of the evangelist, Saint John, which was then a part of the façade of the Florence Cathedral. This work also marked a foundation to the age of Gothic Mannerism, which also paved for the concept of realism and portrayal of human expressions. By those times, open hands and a cloth silhouetting the legs became more realistic whereas the construction of the face, shoulders and bust were still at an ideal state.

Afterwards, he set off working about a sculpture of another evangelist, Saint Mark for the Orsanmichele church by the year 1411 until 1413. He was able to finish the image of Saint George intended for the Cuirass-makers Confraternity by 1417. The relief, the Dragon and Saint George, whose base was made from bas-relief (basso rilievo) was also said to be done by Donatello and was one of the firsts of single focus perspective in making sculptures.

In the years between 1415 up to 1426, he was able to complete 5 images for the Duomo (Campanili De Santa Maria Del Fiore), which were as follows (in chronological order): Beardless and Bearded Prophet (1415), Isaac’s Sacrifice (1421), Habakkuk (1423-1425) and the Jeremiah (1423-1426), whose forms mirror models based on orators. His relief version of the Madonna was found was Berlin. He was also noted for making a crucifix intended for the Santa Croce, whose artwork reveals the Savior in torment and pain on the cross.

Following the Duomo, he then joined hands with Michelozzo in the making of Antipope John XXIII’s Funerary Monument in Florence. He also accomplished the marble relief of the late Cardinal Rainaldo Brancacci’s funerary monument at Sant’Angelo ‘A Nilo, Pisa by 1427.

His major art commissions include his now famous artwork, David in Bronze, who was then authorized by Cosimo I De Medici, known forerunner art patron in Florence, for the Palazzo Medici in the year 1430 AD (Anno Domini). By the time the statue was finished, it was then considered the first-ever free-standing nude statue since the ancient era. It was also the primary statue among the Renaissance Sculptures.

By the time Medici was Exiled, Donatello stayed in Rome until 1433. His two artworks in the city was the Giovanni Crivelli’s Tomb located in Santa Maria, a province of Aracoeli. And his other work was the Saint Peter’s Basilica Ciborium. By the time he returned to Florence, he voluntarily commissioned for the construction of the marble pulpit of the façade of the Cathedral Prato, which was the considered the lase project with Michelozzo.

He died on December 3, 1466 with his last work being the reliefs for the San Lorenzo church bronze pulpits. He was helped by his students Bartolomeo Bellano and Bertoldo di Giovanni. Some of his major artworks were as listed:

• Saint John
• Saint Mark
• Saint George
• Pazzi Madonna
• Habakkuk
• Feast Of Herod
• Jeremiah
• Tabernacle of the Annunciation
• The Cantoria
• David, set in Bronze
• Equestrian Monument of Gattamelata