Donatello was born on 1386 in Florence, Italy. He died at age 80 also in Florence Italy. Donatello lived a long life and created many masterpieces that were known by many people. He was an Italian sculpture and was the greatest Florentine sculpture of the Renaissance before Michelangelo. Donatello was also the most influential artist of the 15th century in Italy.
Donatello was a descendent of a branch of the important Bardi family. They started the powerful banking company, the Compagnia dei Bardi. So they had money when Donatello was growing up. He was brought up in a more plebeian tradition than his older contemporary Lorenzo Ghiberti. Donatello was gifted with humanistic insight and quality of will that was highly prized in the early Renaissance. The gifts he had were not very common.
Most of the works and statues that Donatello created were made out of bronze, stone, and wood. The statues he made were life-size and sometimes even bigger. His later art was saturated with the spirit of Roman antiquity. Donatello’s art was frequently disturbing because of the level of detail he used that was unknown in Italian sculpture.
In Donatello’s early years, he was first apprenticed to Ghiberti. In 1403, at the age of just 17, Donatello was working for the master on the bronze reliefs of the First Doors of the Baptistery. He then left Ghiberti f...
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...wing expressions like suffering, joy, and sorrow in his figures’ faces and body positions.
In 1415, Donatello completed the marble statue of a seated St. John the Evangelist for the cathedral in Florence. Both of his works showed a more classical technique. Donatello and his pupils completed eight life-sized marble prophets for niches in the Campanile of the Cathedral between 1415 and 1435. He then entered a partnership with Michelozzo, sculpture and architect, in 1436.
For many years Donatello worked with Michelozzo. They produced the Tomb of Pope John XXll in the Baptisery, Florence, and the Tomb of Cardinal Brancacci in S. Angelo A Nilo, and Naples. He died of unknown causes on December 13, 1466, in Florence and was buried in the Basilica of San Lorenzo, next to Cosimo de' Medici. An unfinished work was faithfully completed by his student Bertoldo di Giovanni.
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