who is donatello
It’s not known how Donatello and Cosimo de’Medici became friends. They shared a fascination with the ancient world and lived in close proximity, so their paths must have crossed.
He was so passionate about them, he would smash them rather than sell to ignorant clients. He only trusted a few people including Cosimo de’Medici. Cosimo would defend his friend from slander and insults about Donatello’s homosexuality, which was then illegal in Florence.
The cathedral’s valuable pieces of art including The Feast of Herod by Donatello, and works by Bernini and the young Michelangelo make it an extraordinary museum of Italian sculpture.
Magdalene Penitent (c. 1455) – Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Florence.
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.
During the same period of time in which he was developing his work within marble panels, Donatello had also become accomplished at casting figures in bronze. Around 1423 he completed his first major bronze work entitled St. Louise of Toulouse. Though the initial response was underwhelming, the work is now considered a great artistic achievement. Part of the reason for the poor reception initially may have been the difference in it’s two locations and the surrounding materials. Originally installed as a part of a niche at Orsanmichele, in 1460 the statue was moved to Santa Croce. There the surrounding plaster background did not harmonize with the work to the same effect that the marble in the Orsanmichele niche appeared to.
8. Contrary to today’s conception of the starving artist, Donatello enjoyed fame, acclaim and financial success during his lifetime. While this is largely due to his own talent, artistic vision, and love of innovation, his close relationship with the Medici family didn’t hurt, providing him with a reliable source of commissions.
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.
Born in Florence, Italy, around 1386, sculptor Donatello apprenticed early with well-known sculptors and quickly learned the Gothic style. Before he was 20, he was receiving commissions for his work. Over his career he developed a style of lifelike, highly emotional sculptures and a reputation second only to Michelangelo’s.