donatello art

Donatello art
The full power of Donatello first appeared in two marble statues, St Mark and St George (both completed c. 1415), for niches on the exterior of Or San Michele, the church of Florentine guilds (St George has been replaced by a copy; the original is now in the Bargello).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. The same qualities came increasingly to the fore in a series of five prophet statues that Donatello did beginning in 1416 for the niches of the campanile, the bell tower of the cathedral (all these figures, together with others by lesser masters, were later removed to the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo). The statues were of a beardless and a bearded prophet, as well as a group of Abraham and Isaac (1416-21) for the eastern niches; the so-called Zuccone (“pumpkin,” because of its bald head); and Jeremiah for the western niches.
The Zuccone is deservedly famous as the finest of the campanile statues and one of the artist’s masterpieces. 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. 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.
According to the inscription, Giovanni Pecci, the bishop of Grosseto, died on 1 March 1426. The commission to design the bronze tombstone was presumably given to Donatello immediately afterwards. The perspective of the arrangement is such that the dead man does not –as one might expect– appear to be resting for eternity, but to be lying on a stretcher whose lower handles are still! visible. Given Donatello’s constant reformulation of and innovative changes to traditional artistic means of composition. the Pecci tombstone is another sign of his restless temperament.[1]

In 1443, Donatello was called to the city of Padua by the family of the famous mercenary Erasmo da Narni, who had died earlier that year. In 1450, Donatello completed a bronze statue called Gattamelata, showing Erasmo riding a horse in full battle dress, minus a helmet. This was the first equestrian statue cast in bronze since the Romans. The sculpture created some controversy, as most equestrian statues were reserved for rulers or kings, not mere warriors. This work became the prototype for other equestrian monuments created in Italy and Europe in the following centuries.
Around 1425, Donatello entered into a partnership with Italian sculptor and architect Michelozzo, who also studied with Lorenzo Ghiberti. Donatello and Michelozzo traveled to Rome, where they produced several architectural-sculptural tombs, including the tomb of Antipope John XXIII and the tomb of Cardinal Brancacci. These innovations in burial chambers would influence many later Florentine tombs.

Donatello art
Donatello (diminutive of Donato) was the son of Niccolò di Betto Bardi, a Florentine wool carder. 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 Ghiberti, a sculptor in bronze who in 1402 had won the competition for the doors of the Baptistery. Donatello’s earliest work of which there is certain knowledge, a marble statue of David, shows an artistic debt to Ghiberti, who was then the leading Florentine exponent of International Gothic, a style of graceful, softly curved lines strongly influenced by northern European art. 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 Michelangelo, which 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 anecdote, was made in friendly competition with Filippo Brunelleschi, a sculptor and a noted architect.
The full power of Donatello first appeared in two marble statues, St. Mark and St. George (both completed c. 1415), for niches on the exterior of Orsanmichele, the church of Florentine guilds (St. 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. The same qualities came increasingly to the fore in a series of five prophet statues that Donatello did beginning in 1416 for the niches of the campanile, the bell tower of the cathedral (all these figures, together with others by lesser masters, were later removed to the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo). The statues were of a beardless and a bearded prophet, as well as a group of Abraham and Isaac (1416–21) for the eastern niches; the so-called Zuccone (“Pumpkin,” because of its bald head); and the so-called Jeremiah (actually Habakkuk) for the western niches. The Zuccone is deservedly famous as the finest of the campanile statues and one of the artist’s masterpieces. 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. 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.

Donatello art
From 1425 to 1427, Donatello collaborated with Michelozzo on the funerary monument of the Antipope John XXIII for the Battistero in Florence. Donatello made the recumbent bronze figure of the deceased, under a shell. In 1427, he completed in Pisa a marble relief for the funerary monument of Cardinal Rainaldo Brancacci at the church of Sant’Angelo a Nilo in Naples. In the same period, he executed the relief of the Feast of Herod and the statues of Faith and Hope for the Baptistery of San Giovanni in Siena. The relief is mostly in stiacciato, with the foreground figures are done in bas-relief.
When Cosimo was exiled from Florence, Donatello went to Rome, remaining until 1433. The two works that testify to his presence in this city, the Tomb of Giovanni Crivelli at Santa Maria in Aracoeli, and the Ciborium at St. Peter’s Basilica, bear a strong stamp of classical influence.

Donatello art
By 1455 Donatello had returned to Florence and completed the haggard-looking but renowned Mary Magdalen, which was later placed in the Baptistery.
Scant information exists regarding Donatello’s personal life; even his date of birth is disputed and the first recorded indication of his existence was not made until 1406.

References:

http://www.biography.com/artist/donatello
http://www.britannica.com/biography/Donatello
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donatello
http://www.artble.com/artists/donatello
http://www.travelingintuscany.com/art/donatello.htm

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