donetello painted what
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 about 1400. Some time 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 Florentine 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. Other of Donatello’s early works, still partly Gothic in style, are the impressive seated marble figure of St John the Evangelist for the cathedral façade and a wooden crucifix in the church of Santa Croce. The latter, according to an unproved anecdote, was made in friendly competition with Brunelleschi, a sculptor and an architect.
The main attraction of the baptistry  is the hexagonal baptismal font, containing sculptures by Donatello, Jacopo della Quercia and others. The panel of The Feast of Herod is one of the great masterpieces of Renaissance sculpture. It was the first relief to be built in accordance with the rules of perspective.
The relief of Herod’s Feast , at Siena, was executed by Donatello in 1425-1427. It is one of two panels originally ordered from Jacopo della Quercia for the baptismal fonts of Siena Cathedral. Here the architectural setting acts as one of the principal motifs of the scene. Possibly this setting was designed by Michelozzo. At any event it stands out in the history of art as the first relief to be built up in accordance with the rules of perspective. (. ) This strict perspective layout and the network of straight lines structuring it, heighten the dramatic effect of the scene. Starting from the Baptist’s severed head presented on a salver to the horrified Herod, arises the crescendo of rhythmed gestures conveying the emotional response of the figures, expressed already by contorted or spirited movements, by the restless animation of the drapery. The upsweep of her dress shows us Salome still dancing. The memory of her slender, buoyant figure lingers on in Lippi and Botticelli.
While undertaking study and excavations with Filippo Brunelleschi in Rome (1404–1407), work that gained the two men the reputation of treasure seekers, Donatello made a living by working at goldsmiths’ shops.  Their Roman sojourn was decisive for the entire development of Italian art in the 15th century, for it was during this period that Brunelleschi undertook his measurements of the Pantheon dome and of other Roman buildings. Brunelleschi’s buildings and Donatello’s sculptures are both considered supreme expressions of the spirit of this era in architecture and sculpture, and they exercised a potent influence upon the artists of the age.
In Florence, Donatello assisted Lorenzo Ghiberti with the statues of prophets for the north door of the Baptistery of Florence Cathedral, for which he received payment in November 1406 and early 1408. In 1409–1411 he executed the colossal seated figure of Saint John the Evangelist, which until 1588 occupied a niche of the old cathedral façade, and is now placed in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. This work marks a decisive step forward from late Gothic Mannerism in the search for naturalism and the rendering of human feelings.  The face, the shoulders and the bust are still idealized, while the hands and the fold of cloth over the legs are more realistic.
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.
By 1455, Donatello had returned to Florence and completed Magdalene Penitent, a statue of a gaunt-looking Mary Magdalene. Commissioned by the convent at Santa Maria di Cestello, the work was probably intended to provide comfort and inspiration to the repentant prostitutes at the convent. Donatello continued his work taking on commissions from wealthy patrons of the arts. His lifelong friendship with the Medici family earned him a retirement allowance to live on the rest of his life. He died of unknown causes on December 13, 1466, in Florence and was buried in the Basilica of San Lorenzo, next to Cosimo de’ Medici. An unfinished work was faithfully completed by his student Bertoldo di Giovanni.
Donatello was a very prolific sculptor whose works included: St. Mark and St. George (c. 1415), two separate sculptures commissioned for the niches of Orasanmichele; David (undated), the first large-scale freestanding nude sculpture since antiquity; the so-called Gattamelata (1447–53), an influential equestrian monument; and St. Mary Magdalene (c. 1450–55).
A pictorial tendency in sculpture had begun with Ghiberti’s narrative relief panels for the north door of the Baptistery, in which he extended the apparent depth of the scene by placing boldly rounded foreground figures against more delicately modeled settings of landscape and architecture. Donatello invented his own bold new mode of relief in his marble panel St. George Killing the Dragon (1416–17, base of the St. George niche at Orsanmichele). Known as schiacciato (“flattened out”), the technique involved extremely shallow carving throughout, which created a far more-striking effect of atmospheric space than before. The sculptor no longer modeled his shapes in the usual way but rather seemed to “paint” them with his chisel. A blind man could “read” a Ghiberti relief with his fingertips; a schiacciato panel depends on visual rather than tactile perceptions and thus must be seen.
These speculations aside, Donatello’s David is important both in technical terms and in terms of the artist’s treatment of his subject matter. It was the first free-standing male nude sculpture produced since antiquity, and controversial for a non-pagan, biblical figure. Beyond the bold reintroduction of the nude in art, art historian Dr. Beth Harriet also pointed out about this Early Renaissance period, “sculpted figures have finally been detached from architecture and are once again independent in the way that they were in ancient Greece and Rome. And because he’s freestanding, he’s more human, more real. He seems able to move in the world, and of course the contrapposto does that too. It’s easy to imagine this figure in the Medici palace garden, surrounded by the ancient Greek and Roman sculpture that they were also collecting.” Indeed, due to its small stature and location, the statue was designed to evoke an intimate experience for visitors of the family.
Painted terracotta – Bargello Museum, Florence