Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi, also known as Donatello, was a sculptor of the Italian Renaissance. Born in Florence circa 1386, he studied classical sculpture and developed a unique Renaissance style. He worked in stone, bronze, wood, clay, stucco and wax, and had several assistants. Though his best-known works were mostly statues in the round, he developed a new, shallow type of bas-relief, and much of his work was architectural relief.
He received his early artistic training in a goldsmith’s workshop, and then worked briefly in the studio of Lorenzo Ghiberti.
In Pistoia in 1401, Donatello met the older Filippo Brunelleschi. They went to Rome together around 1403 to study the architectural ruins. Brunelleschi informally tutored Donatello in goldsmithing and sculpture. The duo’s works are considered prime examples of Renaissance architecture and sculpture, and they profoundly influenced other artists of the age.
In Florence, Donatello assisted Lorenzo Ghiberti with the statues of prophets for the north door of the Baptistery of Florence Cathedral. In 1409–1411 he finished the colossal seated figure of Saint John the Evangelist, which until 1588 occupied a niche of the old cathedral façade, and now stands in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. This work marks a step forward from late Gothic Mannerism toward naturalism and the rendering of human feelings. The face, the shoulders and the bust are still idealized, while the hands and the fold of cloth over the legs are more realistic.
In 1411–1413, Donatello worked on a statue of St. Mark for the guild church of Orsanmichele. In 1417 he completed the Saint George for the confraternity of armor-makers. From 1423 he sculpted frame and the statue of Saint Louis of Toulouse for the Orsanmichele, now in the Museum of the Basilica di Santa Croce.
Donatello created five statues for the bell tower of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, also known as the Duomo. These works are the Beardless Prophet; Bearded Prophet (both from 1415); the Sacrifice of Isaac (1421); Habbakuk (1423–25); and Jeremiah (1423–26). In 1425, he carved a Crucifix for Santa Croce, which portrays Christ in His agony.
From 1425 to 1427, Donatello worked on some funeral monuments. He also produced The Feast of Herod in bas-relief, one of the first examples of one-point perspective in sculpture.
Donatello also restored antique sculptures for the Palazzo Medici.
Donatello’s bronze David, now in the Bargello museum, is Donatello’s most famous work, and the first known free-standing nude statue produced since antiquity. Conceived fully in the round, independent of any architectural surroundings, it is the first major work of Renaissance sculpture. It was commissioned by Cosimo de’ Medici for the courtyard of his Palazzo Medici. It is most often dated to the 1440s.
In 1443, Donatello was called to Padua by the heirs of the famous mercenary Erasmo da Narni (better known as the Gattamelata, or “Honey-Cat”), to create a posthumous likeness of him. Completed in 1450 and placed in the square facing the Basilica of St. Anthony, his Equestrian Monument of Gattamelata was the first such monument since ancient times. (Other equestrian statues from the 14th century had not been executed in bronze and had been placed over tombs rather than erected independently, in a public place.) This work became the prototype for other equestrian monuments executed in Italy and Europe in the following centuries.
Donatello was one of Michelangelo’s influences.
He died in Florence in 1466.
Topics serious and entertaining:
- For the writers: information about all possible book publishing paths.
- For the writers: how guest blogging can help you promote your novel.
- How the gift of books helps change lives in prison.
- Some beautiful quilts—including three on Mazie Hirono’s wall.
- How to review poetry books (many of the points cross over to other reviews as well).
- Some ideas for generating worthwhile social media content.
- If you love cats, you’re going to love this.
- Todd Brison writes about 50 things that helped him get through 2020. They might help you with the rough start of 2021.
- A different interpretation of a well-known Bible story. I never thought about it quite like this before.
- Gifts to sew for every occasion. Get started now for next Christmas.
- What it’s like to have Covid. If it hasn’t touched your circle, you just don’t know.
- How an artist’s pandemic experience influenced his illustration work.
Walking outside frees my imagination. ~ARHuelsenbeck
If you are a creative person, you should watch this.
I don’t know what these are. The leaves remind me of sedum. Anybody know?
How will you celebrate Valentine’s Day with your honey this year? During the pandemic, your options are limited. You’d better start planning now if you don’t want to disappoint your loved one.
You might not even be getting together face-to-face. Maybe you’re separated by distance, or maybe a health concern has kept you isolated. Maybe spending face time in FaceTime is your best option.
Even under the best of times, going out to eat on Valentine’s Day is a challenge, because, guess what? It’s everyone’s Valentine’s Day; unlike birthdays and anniversaries, which are spread out among 366 days. And in the time of Covid, dining venues are limited. Most restaurants that are open have fewer tables available (unless they’ve built plexiglass partitions); and they’re in high demand because, as stated before, it’s everybody’s Valentine’s Day.
So, maybe you can make a special dinner for your Valentine; that is, if you can even be in the same room together. Or, maybe you can order takeout. Or maybe you can send him or her a specially delivered meal.
You can’t go out to the movies, but maybe you could stream a romantic movie together.
You can always send him or her flowers or candy or a gift. It’s tried and true, but somewhat of a cliché.
Better yet, you could give the gift of yourself. What are your special talents? (Oh, my goodness! That’s not the kind of special talent I meant, but okay then. Moving on. . .)
Can you write a love poem? It doesn’t even have to rhyme. And if you can also play an instrument, maybe you can make it into a song with a simple accompaniment, and video yourself singing it, and post it on his or her Facebook page. (Um, even as I’m writing this, I’m seeing potential for disaster. . . maybe you could just email the poem.)
Can you draw or paint? Make some artwork especially for your beloved. You know what he or she likes. Landscapes, or flowers, or puppies, or even a portrait. That’s it! Make a portrait of your Valentine, and frame it in a gorgeous frame so he or she can enjoy it forever in a place of honor. (What could go wrong with that idea?)
Or maybe you’re a photographer. Enlarge a favorite photo that you know would have special meaning for your loved one, and frame it.
Are you a woodworker, or a quilter, or an upholsterer? A beautiful item that you made with your own hands will be treasured as evidence of your love. Who doesn’t love a quilt or a piece of furniture?
If all else fails, there are always gift cards. That mega-million-dollar internet order company that has fast delivery is very popular during the pandemic, as is that expensive coffee place with the drive-up window with cars backed up to the highway. Or a gift card to a grocery store. Actually, depending on your situation (and your sweetheart’s), one of the most appreciated gifts you could give might be a donation to the local food bank in your Valentine’s name. Some states (Arizona among them) might even give you (or your loved one) a tax credit for it.
Now it’s your turn. What great ideas do you have for celebrating Valentine’s Day during the pandemic? Share in the comments below. And however you spend Valentine’s Day this year, have a happy one.
More Flowers of the Day.