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Donatello (1386-1466)

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Donatello was born in Florence, Italy in 1386. Although he is called Donatello for short, his full name is Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi. He is the son of a Florentine weaver. Between 1404-1407 he continued the workshop of Lorenzo Ghiberti.

He is considered the greatest sculptor of the fruitful period that marked the beginning of the Italian Renaissance.

The artist, who has wooden carvings and terracotta works as well as marble and bronze sculptures, also worked as a jeweler, painter and architecture. He succeeded in processing marble, bronze and wood with the same skill.

The decorations in churches in Italy are still of unmatched beauty today. He was also influential on great artists such as Donatello Michelangelo Buonarroti and Raffaello Santi.

Success and accolades never changed Donatello, and he was known around him as a simple and humble person. His students, family, and friends alike benefited from his inexhaustible generosity, for money was none of his business; The only thing he was interested in was his art.

He became a source of inspiration for Florentine painters with his works. After working in Ghiberti's workshop for a while in 1403, he undertook the decoration of Florence Cathedral in 1406. The marble statue of "David" he made in 1408 and the series of prophets he performed after him became one of his most important works. He moved away from the traditionally dressed sculpture understanding in the sculpture "St. Georgius" (Bargello), which he completed between 1416 and 1420.

Donatello prepared a series of patron saints for Orsanmichele, a Church in Florence; The sculptures in this series, which were performed on behalf of the Florentine guilds, were placed in the outer niches. The statues of St. Mark (to 1411-1415) and St. Giorgio (to 1415-1417) can be considered a decisive step towards fully independent sculpture. On the seat of the second statue, Donatello made his first bas-relief, St. Georgius Slaying the Dragon.

With his work, Saint Luigi of Toulouse (to 1422-1425), in which he began to use bronze, Donatello provided a definitive solution to the problem of niches that was peculiar to gothic architecture at that time: henceforth, niches were to be opened in a small apse sandwiched between two small Ionian columns in the Corinthian style.

He went to Padova in 1443-1453. Being here in an environment that was more interested in antiquity than the Florentines was instrumental in Donatello's inclination towards larger sculpture studies. Inspired by the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, the militia commander completed his monumental bronze work "Gattamelata" in 1453. Reliefs and sculptures in the Basilica of Sant Antonio, "Sitting Virgin" are his other important works in Padova. When he returned to Florence, he drew attention with his "Crucifixion", "Maria Magdelana" and the reliefs completed by Bernardo and Bertaldo.

The statue of David, which was completed in 1460 towards 1446 and which was formerly in the palace of Lorenzo de Medici and now in the Bargello Museum, portrays the young hero mentioned in the Bible after he defeated his enemy, Goliath. This life-size nude sculpture is the first full relief since Antiquity and constitutes one of the important monuments in the history of sculpture.

Donatello died on December 13, 1466, in Florence, Italy, at the age of 80.

Major Sculptures:

1411-1415 St. John, marble.

Towards 1415-1417 Saint Georgius Slaying the Dragon, marble.

1425-1427 The Feast of Herod, gilded bronze.

To 1427-1436 Habakuk (Zuccone), marble.

Good news to Mary towards 1435, limestone.

1438 St. John, wood.

Towards 1445-1453′ Gattamelata showing Condottiere on horseback, bronze.

Towards 1446-1460 David, bronze. (Yudit and Holofernos), bronze.

Saint Maria-Magdalena towards 1454, wood.

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