what subject of the artwork saint george by donatello
St George is a marble sculpture by Donatello. It is one of fourteen sculptures commissioned by the guilds of Florence  to decorate the external niches of the Orsanmichele church. St. George was commissioned by the guild of the armorers and sword makers, the Arte dei Corazzai e Spadai.
A stone thrown at the sculpture in 1858 broke its nose,  and in 1892 Donatello’s St. George was moved to the Bargello Museum in Florence.  From 1892 to 2008 a bronze replica was placed in the original niche, to be replaced by a marble replica on 23 April 2008. The original sculpture was stolen from the Villa Medici in Poggio a Caiano, but in May 1945 it was recovered by Frederick Hart in Neumelans and returned to Italy on 20 July 1945. The box base was added back onto the statue in 1976  .
The reason for such a stance has been linked to political events surrounding Florence during the years leading up to the statue’s creation. Although Florence was a free Republic during this time, it faced threats by other cities who were more powerful than itself. One of these cities was Milan, which had been led in 1402 by Gian Galeazzo Visconti to the doorstep of Florence. With the city surrounded and Florence on the verge of invasion, disease swept through the Milanese army, forcing it to withdraw. Around the year 1410, a different threat emerged from the south. An army from Naples, led by a tyrant, moved north and again Florence was in danger of being invaded. However, before the threat could turn into disaster for the Florentines, the Neapolitan tyrant was struck by a disease and died. Thus, Florence was spared again from being the conquest of a more powerful foe. Donatello’s depiction of St. George seems to reflect the idea of standing tall against an approaching enemy. It was a spirit that must have been shared by Florentines of the day on account of contemporary events, and Donatello used it as the source for the disposition of his statue.
Donatello carved his statue of St. George for the guild of armorers and swordmakers in Florence. Like the statue of St. Mark, the statue of St. George was destined for the guild’s niche in the building of Orsanmichele. Because the guild was of average size, it could only afford a statue of marble, rather than of bronze.
Donatello completed his famous Saint George for the Confraternity of the Cuirass-makers in 1417 and it would mark an important step in the journey of liberating status from a niche structure. It was carved for a guild of sword makers of average size that could only afford a statue of marble, rather than of bronze. Saint George was the patron saint of the armourer’s guild and was known as military figure, as well as a hero in the Holy Land, making him a fitting subject. A popular tale involving the hero defeating a dragon came to be know through the collection of stories called the Golden Legend in the late thirteenth century.
Housed today in Bargello, the figure exhibits a strong physical presence, bolstered by the shield that projects out of the physical space, adding to the indomitable image of a brave knight. He appears as if he could rotate on the small base, implying a sense of readiness on the part of the saint to quickly confront enemies coming from all directions. His legs ably support the front of the left foot is not completely planted on the based, but instead partially hangs off the front, suggesting a poised posture, ready for attack. The reason for such a stance has been linked to political events surrounding Florence during the years leading up to the statue’s creation. In 1410 a new threat emerged from the south. An army from Naples, led by a tyrant, was mobilising and Florence was in danger of being invaded. However, before the thread could turn into disaster for the Florentines, the Neapolitan tyrant was struck by disease and perished. Thus, Florence was spared again from being the conquest of a more powerful foe. Donatello’s portrayal of Saint George seems to conincide with the idea of standing tall against an approaching enemy; a sentiment no doubt shared by many of fellow Florentine during an uncertain time.
The International Gothic style emphasized highly stylized renderings of all things, both human and non-human. Artists presented their subjects and environment as flawlessly as possible. Donatello disliked this unrealistic approach to art and concentrated instead on presenting his subjects more naturally.
Back in Florence, Donatello’s fame and wealth grew exponentially over the years. He developed a close personal relationship with the wealthiest family in Florence, the de Medicis, and spent much of his professional life sculpting at the whim of Cosimo, the family patriarch.
Niccolo da Uzzano was an important figure in Florentine politics in the early decades of the 15th century, who acted as a respected intermediary figure between the city’s powerful rival families. Donatello produced the bust (although its authorship is sometimes contested) soon after Uzzano’s death in 1433. It was the first half-bust of a private citizen produced since antiquity.
This sculpture is seen as an important step away from the Gothic style that predominated in Florentine (and European) art at this point. Moreover, Donatello shows a new understanding of the requirements of perspective, compensating for the fact that viewers would see the sculpture from below and therefore making the body disproportionately longer than the legs. As the curator and art historian Daniel M. Zolli points out, Donatello was aware that the base of the sculpture would be set approximately four feet above human height: “Not only are John’s proportions far closer to nature when observed from this angle, but his presence is much more formidable: the fabric of his raiment hangs heavily from the frame of his body, and the whole composition organizes itself into a stable pyramid.”