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Jeonghyeon Kim
Period 2
Donatello’s Life

Donatello was born in 1386 in Florence, Italy and passed away at 1466. His real name is Donato
di Niccolò di Betto Bardi, but his friends and family gave him the nickname Donatello.
Donatello’s dad was a member of the Florentine Wool Combers Guild giving Donatello the
status as the son of a craftsmen. Donatello was educated at the house of the Martellis where he
first received his artistic training from a local blacksmith. He learned metallurgy and the
fabrication of metals and other substances. In 1403, he became the apprentice of Florence
blacksmith and sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti. A few years later, he helped Ghiberti build bronze
doors for cathedrals. Donatello got paid for his works before the age of 20. One of his earlier
works was David, which followed the Gothic style. This was done well, but it lacked the
emotional style and innovative technique that would mark Donatello’s later works. He
eventually developed his unique style over time. He retired in Florence and his friendship with
the Medici family earned him enough retirement allowance for the rest of his life. On December
12,1446 on unknown causes and was buried next to Cosimo de’ Medici.
Equestrian statue of Gattamelata

The person riding the horse is Erasmo da

Narni, a mercenary that fought for Venice.
The Gattamelata in the title means “honeyed
cat” which was the nickname of Narni. The
city of Padua wanted to honor him so
created that statue for him in front of the
main church of the city. This sculpture was
special in a way that this work was compared
to antique sculpture during the Renaissance.
This rivaled ancient sculpture. A high level of
naturalism was conveyed in this sculpture.

This is Donatello’s landmark work and one of

the greatest sculptural works of the early
Renaissance. This work signaled the return
of nude figure in the round figure, and
because this was a first in a thousand years,
this is one of the most important works in the
history of western art. David is depicted as a
youth in this sculpture rather than his later
days as a king. Even though David is a youth
in the sculpture he holds a huge sword and
gains victory over a giant. This seems
improbable so he’s telling us this victory was
God’s rather than man’s.
Saint George

Donatello carved this statue for the guild of

armorers and sword makers in Florence.
Because the guild was average size it could
only afford a statue of marble, not bronze. In
this statue Saint George was carved in a
confident posture. His shield is in front of
him and he looks like he’s ready to confront
his enemies. The stance of Saint George was
done to suggest immobility and stability.
Saint Mark

This was created for the linen guild and since

only the front side shows the back side was
not fully carved. In this sculpture Donatello
revived the use of the contrapposto stance in
freestanding sculpture. Donatello knew that
this sculpture would be seen from the
bottom so he made his head,hands, torso
over-sized and elongated a bit. The garments
on this figure is emphasized and it look like
how it’ll look on a actual person. This statue
signaled a break from the International
Gothic style and brought a new era of natural

This was made to beautify the interior of the

Duomo. Donatello’s Cantoria had the
functional purpose of providing standing
room for the choir and was nicknamed the
“singing gallery”. This marble piece is
composed of five large medievally styled
columns. Behind the columns is angelic
dancing children in simple garments known
as “putti”. He incorporated a variety of
ancient iconography.
Feast of Herod

This was Donatello’s first bronze relief

sculpture. This was for the baptistery of
Siena Cathedral in Italy. The emotional
expressiveness of the figures makes this
work different from his other works. The
addition of architectural elements allows for
the incorporations of linear perspective to
the scene.