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Donatello Photo

Donatello

Italian Sculptor

Movement: Early Renaissance

Born: c. 1386 - Florence

Died: December 13, 1466 - Florence

Donatello Timeline

Quotes

"Donatello made his figures in such a way that in the room where he worked they did not look half as well as when they were put in their places."
Giorgio Vasari
"As Henry Moore carved or modelled his sculpture every day, he strove to surpass Donatello and failed, but woke the next morning elated for another try."
Donald Hall

"He may be said to have been the first to illustrate the art of sculpture among the moderns."

Giorgio Vasari

Synopsis

Donatello would become known as the most important sculptor to resuscitate classical sculpture from its tomb in antiquity, through an invigorated style that departed from the Gothic period's flat iconography. He broke ground by introducing new aesthetics in line with the time's flourishing move toward Humanism - a movement that emphasized a departure from medieval scholasticism and favored deep immersion into the humanities, resulting in art that no longer focused solely on the secular realm of religion but explored man's place in the natural world. Donatello's signature lifelike and highly emotional works would place him as one of the most influential artists in 15th century Italy, and an early forefather to the Italian Renaissance.

Key Ideas

Donatello's work was highly influenced by the revival of interest in the sciences, mathematics, and architecture that was taking place in Florence. This included the use of one point perspective to create a new kind of bas-relief for architectural works and a precise anatomical correctness for his figures.
The figure was a central point of mastery for the artist, and he was in fact the first to reintroduce the nude sculpture. With the addition of realistic proportion, emotionality, and expression to his subjects whether they be mythic, historical, or everyday people, he created works that conveyed a genuine reality over the idealized imagery of before.
Donatello was a prolific master of many mediums including stone, bronze, wood, stucco, clay, and wax. He was the first to illustrate the art of sculpture among the modern artists. His versatility and ingenuity would lay a foundation for many future sculptors looking to discover new possibilities in materiality.

Biography

Donatello Photo

Childhood

It is common thought that Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardi (generally known as Donatello) was born in 1386 in Florence to Niccolo di Betto Bardi. However, the date is conjectural, based on a declaration of income submitted by the artist in 1433, stating his age at 47. He received his childhood education in the house of the Martelli family, one of Florence's richest families.

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Donatello Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Donatello
Interactive chart with Donatello's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Lorenzo Ghiberti
Filippo Brunelleschi
GiottoGiotto

Personal Contacts

Filippo Brunelleschi
Michelozzo

Movements

Classical ArtClassical Art
Gothic Art and ArchitectureGothic Art and Architecture

Influences on Artist
Donatello
Donatello
Years Worked: 1406 - 1466
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Michelozzo
Massaccio
Andrea de MantegnaAndrea de Mantegna
Desiderio da Settignano
Andrea del Verrocchio

Personal Contacts

Filippo Brunelleschi
Bertoldo di Giovanni
Desiderio da Settignano

Movements

Early RenaissanceEarly Renaissance
High RenaissanceHigh Renaissance
MannerismMannerism

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Anna Souter

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Anna Souter
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols
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