donatello renaissance artist
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.
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.
Of the six figures of the Virtues that were commissioned for the Sienese font, including ones from Giovanni di Turino and Goro di ser Neroccio, Donatello created those of Faith (La Fede) and Hope (La Speranza). Both figures
are positively moving out of the tabernacles in an extreme sideways turning.
Here, Faith is personified by a woman who is dressed in a voluminous garment and in her left hand is holding the cup which, in the Eucharist, symbolizes the forgiveness of sins.
Saint John the Baptist (1547)
Rapidly maturing in his art, Donatello soon began to develop a style all his own, with figures much more dramatic and emotional. Between 1411 and 1413, he sculpted the marble figure St. Mark, placed in an exterior niche of the Orsanmichele Church, which also served as the chapel of Florence’s powerful craft and trade guilds. In 1415, Donatello completed the marble statue of a seated St. John the Evangelist for the cathedral in Florence. Both works show a decisive move away from the Gothic style and toward a more classical technique.
Donatello had nurtured a close and lucrative relationship with Cosimo de’ Medici in Florence. In 1430, the eminent art patron commissioned Donatello to do another statue of David, this time in bronze. This is probably Donatello’s most famous work. The sculpture is fully independent from any architectural surroundings that might support it. Standing a little over five feet tall, David represents an allegory of civic virtue triumphing over brutality and irrationality.
In 1443, Donatello was called to Padua by the heirs of the famous condottiero Erasmo da Narni (better known as the Gattamelata, or “Honey-Cat”), who had died that year. Completed in 1450 and placed in the square facing the Basilica of St. Anthony, his Equestrian Monument of Gattamelata was the first example of such a monument since ancient times. (Other equestrian statues, from the 14th century, had not been executed in bronze and had been placed over tombs rather than erected independently, in a public place.) This work became the prototype for other equestrian monuments executed in Italy and Europe in the following centuries.
Between 1415 and 1426, Donatello created five statues for the campanile of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, also known as the Duomo. These works are the Beardless Prophet; Bearded Prophet (both from 1415); the Sacrifice of Isaac (1421); Habbakuk (1423–25); and Jeremiah (1423–26); which follow the classical models for orators and are characterized by strong portrait details. From the late teens is the Pazzi Madonna relief in Berlin. In 1425, he executed the notable Crucifix for Santa Croce; this work portrays Christ in a moment of the agony, eyes and mouth partially opened, the body contracted in an ungraceful posture.
Donatello, original name in full Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi, (born c. 1386, Florence [Italy]—died December 13, 1466, Florence), master of sculpture in both marble and bronze, one of the greatest of all Italian Renaissance artists.
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.