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Donatello

Mar - 6 - 2013
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DonatelloDonato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi(real name Donato di Betto Bardi. circa 1386 – December 13, 1466) was an early Renaissance Italian artist and sculptor from Florence. He is, in part, known for his work in bas-relief, a form of shallow relief sculpture that, in Donatello’s case, incorporated significant 15th century developments in perspectival illusionism.
Early life
Donatello was the son of Niccolo di Betto Bardi, who was a member of the Florentine Wool Combers Guild, and was born in Florence, most likely in the year 1386. Donatello was educated in the house of the Martelli family. He apparently received his early artistic training in a goldsmith’s workshop, and then worked briefly in the studio of Lorenzo Ghiberti.
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 painters of the age.
Work in Florence

David at Bargello Museum, Florence.

In Florence, Donatello assisted Lorenzo Ghiberti with the statues of prophets for the north door of the Florence Baptistery, 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 facade, and is now placed in a dark chapel of the 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.
Donatello became bedridden in his latter years, and some of his works were completed by his pupils. Piero de’ Medici provided for him. Donatello had always been lavish with his fellow-workers and assistants, and took no forethought for himself. His character was one of great openness and simplicity, and he had an ingenuous appreciation of his own value as an artist. Unassuming as he was, his pride of craft and independence of spirit would lead him to destroy a masterpiece at one blow if his modest price were haggled over.
1386-1466, Florentine sculptor, regarded as the greatest sculptor of the quattrocento, who was greatly influenced by classical sculpture and contemporary humanist theories. His marble relief of St George Killing the Dragon (1416-17) shows his innovative use of perspective. Other outstanding works are the classic bronze David, and the bronze equestrian monument to Gattamelatta, which became the model of subsequent equestrian sculpture.
Resources on the Internet
GET THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA ON CD-ROM
The article in the English Wikipedia
www.newadvent.org

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