who is donatello the artist
These panels are flanked on the corners by six figures, two by Donatello (“Faith” and “Hope”) in 1429; three by Giovanni di Turino (“Justice”, “Charity” and “Providence”, 1431); and the “Fortitude” is by Goro di Ser Neroccio (1431).
The marble shrine on the font was designed by Jacopo della Quercia between 1427 and 1429. The five “Prophets” in the niches and the marble statuette of “John the Baptist” at the top are equally by his hand. Two of the bronze angels are by Donatello, three by Giovanni di Turino (the sixth is by an unknown artist).
The frescoes are by Vecchietta and his school (1447-1450, Articles of Faith, Prophets and Sibyls), Benvenuto di Giovanni, the school of Jacopo della Quercia e, perhaps, one by Piero Orioli. Vecchietta also painted two scenes on the wall of the apse, representing the Flagellation and the Road to Calvary. Michele di Matteo da Bologna painted in 1477 the frescoes on the vault of the apse.
 The bronze David was probably Donatello’s most untypical1 and at the same time his most popular work . Rarely have the various attempts at dating the work diverged so considerably over many years of research.
1427 has been given’ as the earliest, and 1460 as the latest date of its creation. Nowadays this sculpture, as puzzling as it is fascinating, is generally believed to date from around 1440. There is proof that the David, which is now in the Bargello, was erected in the interior courtyard of the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi in 1469, and then moved to the Palazzo Vecchio after the Medicis were expelled in 1495. These early locations for the David provide obvious parallels with Donatello’s later Judith and Holofernes group. There have been repeated suggestions of a possible link between the two works that, despite their considerable stylistic differences, were even considered to be counterparts. However, the only indisputable assumption is that an inherent part of both sculptures was a political symbolism that is difficult to decipher today. David was undoubtedly well suited to be a symbol of the Florentines’ liberal view of themselves, and had in this sense been raised almost m the level of state symbol.
Donatello’s David once more demonstrates to us bis admiration of classical sculpture. This is communicated in the balanced distribution of weight in the figure and its unusual nudity. These similarities to classical sculpture apart, however, the figure is ahead of its time. The appearance of the body is so close to nature that even Vasari was led to wonder whether the figure ‘was not moulded on the living form.’ The youthful body is flawlessly beautiful. The earliest free-standing nude of the post-classical era, it is also impressively graceful when seen from the side. His profile, with the laurel wreath on his helmet, could scarcely be more striking.
Rolf C. Wirtz, Donatello (Masters of Italian Art Series), Konemann, 1998, p. 69.
The last years of Donatello’s life were spent designing twin bronze pulpits for San Lorenzo, and, thus, again in the service of his old patrons the Medici, he died. Covered with reliefs showing the passion of Christ, the pulpits are works of tremendous spiritual depth and complexity, even though some parts were left unfinished and had to be completed by lesser artists.
Donatello is portrayed by Ben Starr in the 2016 television series Medici: Masters of Florence. 
Some have perceived the David as having homo-erotic qualities, and have argued that this reflected the artist’s own orientation.  The historian Paul Strathern makes the claim that Donatello made no secret of his homosexuality, and that his behaviour was tolerated by his friends.  The main evidence comes from anecdotes by Angelo Poliziano in his “Detti piacevoli“, where he writes about Donatello surrounding himself with “handsome assistants” and chasing in search of one that had fled his workshop.  This may not be surprising in the context of attitudes prevailing in the 15th- and 16th-century Florentine republic. However, little detail is known with certainty about his private life, and no mention of his sexuality has been found in the Florentine archives (in terms of denunciations)  albeit which during this period are incomplete. 
During his partnership with Michelozzo, Donatello carried out independent commissions of pure sculpture, including several works of bronze for the baptismal font of San Giovanni in Siena. The earliest and most important of these was the Feast of Herod (1423–27), an intensely dramatic relief with an architectural background that first displayed Donatello’s command of scientific linear perspective, which Brunelleschi had invented only a few years earlier. To the Siena font Donatello also contributed two statuettes of Virtues, austerely beautiful figures whose style points toward the Virgin and angel of the Santa Croce Annunciation, and three nude putti, or child angels (one of which was stolen and is now in the Berlin museum). These putti, evidently influenced by Etruscan bronze figurines, prepared the way for the bronze David, the first large-scale free-standing nude statue of the Renaissance. Well proportioned and superbly poised, it was conceived independently of any architectural setting. Its harmonious calm makes it the most classical of Donatello’s works. The statue was undoubtedly done for a private patron, but his identity is in doubt. Its recorded history begins with the wedding of Lorenzo the Magnificent in 1469, when it occupied the centre of the courtyard of the Medici palace in Florence. After the expulsion of the Medici in 1496, the statue was placed in the courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio and eventually moved to the Bargello.
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.
While Donatello’s solo work seems inspired by a wide variety of ancient art, his collaborations with Michelozzo are much more similar to works by Filippo Brunelleschi. As Donatello continued his solo career he expanded upon his own singular style of blending classical and medieval sources and in doing so stated through his work his preference to depart from old standards Brunelleschi had established. This created a rift between Brunelleschi and Donatello that persisted until their deaths.
Donatello created his own form of relief in sculpted marble panels called “schiacciato.” This translates in English as “flattened out.” This technique allowed a far shallower carving that gave a sense of depth. The principal subjects of the panel appeared to pop off the sculpted work. He used this technique to great success in many works such as St. George Killing the Dragon and The Ascension, with Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter.
There are accounts by some historians that Donatello and Brunelleschi struck up a friendship around 1407 and traveled to Rome to study classical art. Details of the trip are not well known, but it is believed that the two artists gained valuable knowledge excavating the ruins of classical Rome. The experience gave Donatello a deep understanding of ornamentation and classic forms, important knowledge that would eventually change the face of 15th-century Italian art. His association with Brunelleschi likely influenced him in the Gothic style that can be seen in much of Donatello’s early work.
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.