what was donatello famous for
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.
Greenhalgh, Michael. Donatello and His Sources. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1982.
The Italian sculptor Donatello was the greatest Florentine sculptor before Michelangelo (1475 – 1564), and was certainly the most influential individual artist of the fifteenth century in Italy.
Donatello’s independent work during his period of collaboration with Michelozzo is considered some of his finest. Feast of Herod showed a command of linear perspective in Donatello’s own relief technique. A series of small nude angels influenced by Etruscan art helped pave the way for Donatello’s bronze David with the Head of Goliath. This spectacular work was cast sectionally in bronze and is an interpretation of a symbolic figure representing pride and the role of divine protection against evil forces. This bronze David may have been a commissioned work from the Medici family and originally was placed in the center of the Medici palace in Florence.
1. Unlike many other celebrated artists of his day, Donatello did not spend his entire youth as a studio apprentice to a master. Instead, he studied briefly with a stone mason and a goldsmith. He then worked with Lorenzo Ghiberti on the bronze entry to Florence’s Baptistery, which was later dubbed the Gates of Paradise by Michelangelo. At the tender age of 17, Donatello was out on his own, making a name for himself in Renaissance Florence.
Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (c. 1386 – 13 December 1466), better known as Donatello ( English: / ˌ d ɒ n ə ˈ t ɛ l oʊ /  Italian: [donaˈtɛllo] ), was an Italian sculptor of the Renaissance. Born in Florence, he studied classical sculpture and used this to develop a complete Renaissance style in sculpture, whose periods in Rome, Padua and Siena introduced to other parts of Italy a long and productive career. He worked with stone, bronze, wood, clay, stucco and wax, and had several assistants, with four perhaps being a typical number. Though his best-known works were mostly statues in the round, he developed a new, very shallow, type of bas-relief for small works, and a good deal of his output was larger architectural reliefs.
The Donatello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) built by the Italian Space Agency, was one of three MPLMs operated by NASA to transfer supplies and equipment to and from the International Space Station. The others were named Leonardo and Raffaello.
Meanwhile, Donatello had also become a major sculptor in bronze. His earliest such work was the more than life-size statue of St. Louis of Toulouse (c. 1423) for a niche at Orsanmichele (replaced a half-century later by Verrocchio’s bronze group of Christ and the doubting Thomas). About 1460 the St. Louis was transferred to Santa Croce and is now in the museum attached to the church. Early scholars had an unfavourable opinion of St. Louis, but later opinion held it to be an achievement of the first rank, both technically and artistically. The garments completely hide the body of the figure, but Donatello successfully conveyed the impression of harmonious organic structure beneath the drapery. Donatello had been commissioned to do not only the statue but the niche and its framework. The niche is the earliest to display Brunelleschi’s new Renaissance architectural style without residual Gothic forms. Donatello could hardly have designed it alone; Michelozzo, a sculptor and architect with whom he entered into a limited partnership a year or two later, may have assisted him. In the partnership, Donatello contributed only the sculptural centre for the fine bronze effigy on the tomb of the schismatic antipope John XXIII in the Baptistery; the relief of the Assumption of the Virgin on the Brancacci tomb in Sant’Angelo a Nilo, Naples; and the balustrade reliefs of dancing angels on the outdoor pulpit of the Prato Cathedral (1433–38). Michelozzo was responsible for the architectural framework and the decorative sculpture. The architecture of these partnership projects resembles that of Brunelleschi and differs sharply from that of comparable works done by Donatello alone in the 1430s. All of his work done alone shows an unorthodox ornamental vocabulary drawn from both Classical and medieval sources and an un-Brunelleschian tendency to blur the distinction between the architectural and the sculptural elements. Both the Annunciation tabernacle in Santa Croce and the Cantoria (the singer’s pulpit) in the Duomo (now in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo) show a vastly increased repertory of forms derived from ancient art, the harvest of Donatello’s long stay in Rome (1430–33). His departure from the standards of Brunelleschi produced an estrangement between the two old friends that was never repaired. Brunelleschi even composed epigrams against Donatello.
It is not known how Donatello began his career, but he probably learned stone carving from one of the sculptors working on the cathedral of Florence (the Duomo) about 1400. Between 1404 and 1407 he joined the workshop of Lorenzo Ghiberti, a sculptor who in 1402 had won the competition for the doors of the Baptistery.