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Renaissance Project: Donatello

Donatello sculpted multiple works in the early parts of his life, created some of the
greatest sculptures of his time, and produced many pieces in his later years. Donatello, an
important figure of the Renaissance, was born in Florence, Italy, in 1386, and he died there in
1466. He was the greatest Italian sculptor previous to Michelangelo, and was the most influential
artist of the 1400's in Italy. Many sculptors, painters, and artists highly respected him and his

Donatello gained an interest in art at an early age. This isn't a surprise, considering his
father is a craftsman. By 1408, Donatello had completed his first famous piece, the marble life-
sized David. This piece was intended to be put into a cathedral, but it was instead put into the
town hall as a symbol of the Florentine republic. David features a Gothic style and an
expressionless face, unlike much of Donatello's later works. Donatello also crafted the St. Mark,
a famous marble figure that was placed in the Orsanmichele Church, which was also the chapel
for many crafts and trades guilds within Florence. Donatello additionally made St. John the
Evangelist, a seated figure made out of marble, once again, for a cathedral. These three statues
had a very distinct style, and gained Donatello much fame early on in his life.

Donatello created some of the greatest works of his time. Besides the David, the St.
Mark, and St. John the Evangelist, he also made the Zuccone and the Jeremiah. Both the
Zuccone and the Jeremiah are marble sculptures that were made for the bell tower of a cathedral.
Donatello additionally made the St. George, a statue very similar to his earlier work, St. Mark.
Besides making statues, Donatello crafted many famous panels with his chisel as well. Most of
Donatello's panels were delicately carved, and the beauty of them could only be fully witnessed
while under bright lights. Some of his famous panels include the marble St. George and the
Dragon, the Feast of Herod, and Funeral Monument of John XXIII . Some of Donatello's other
famous works include the Cantoria, Bearded Prophet, Marzocco, High Altar of St. Anthony, St.
John the Baptist, Annunciation, Crucifix, Allegoric Figure of a Boy, Prophet Habakkuk, and
Madonna with the Child.

Age didn't stop Donatello; Even during his final years, Donatello continued to work on
and create masterpieces. Donatello's later years were arguably some of his best. The sculptures
he sculpted later on in his life were much more detailed, and contained much more emotion than
his earlier works. His later sculptures seemed to have a soul of their own, and seemed to speak
out to those who looked at the sculpture. One of his lifelike works includes the Penitent
Magdalene, which is a wooden sculpture of Mary Magdalen commissioned for the Baptistery of
Florence. Another one of these lifelike works is the Gattamelata, a sculpture completed in 1453
and placed in the Piazzo del Santo in Padua, Italy. One more of these lifelike works is the Judith
and Holofernes, a bronze sculpture placed in the Hall of Lilies in the Palazzo Vecchio of
Florence, Italy.

Donatello was considered the greatest sculptor of his time. He left his mark, and heavily
influenced Italian sculptors and artists for decades to come. He crafted many masterpieces in his
early years, created many great works that are still praised even today, and many pieces in his
final years. Donatello is an important figure of the Renaissance, and always will be.

Works Cited

"Donatello Biography." A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.

"Donatello." Artble. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2016. <>.

"Web Gallery of Art, Searchable Fine Arts Image Database." Web Gallery of Art, Searchable
Fine Arts Image Database. Web Gallery of Art, n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.