Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardi

Early Life

  • He was born in Florence, around the year 1386.
  • He was the son of Niccolo di Betto Bardi.
  • His father was a member of a large guild called the Florentine Wool Combers Guild.
  • Donatello's family was somewhat wealthy from his father being in a trading guild.
  • He received early artistic training in a goldsmith's workshop.
  • One of his sculpting trainers was Ghibirti.
  • He undertook study and other excavations with Brunelleschi in Rome.
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Later life and commissions in Florence that made him famous

  • Cosimo de' Medici (Lorenzo's grandfather) was the foremost patron of the time of Donatello, and commissioned him with sculpting the bronze David for one of Medici's courts..
  • The Bronze David is now his most famous artwork known.
  • The Bronze David is considered the first major sculpture of the Renaissance showing traces of Greek arts.
  • In 1433 Donatello moved to Rome for a short time because Cosimo was exiled from Florence.
  • He only made two known works in Rome most notably the Ciborium and the tomb of Pope John XXIII.
  • These artworks are said to have helped spread the ideas of ancient art by Donatello during the Renaissance.
  • After returning to Florence, he sculpted the marble pulpit on the Prato Cathedral and some smaller works.
  • Much of his work during his middle ages was with a partner, his fellow worker usually being Michelozzo, another sculptor and architect.
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The Final Years In Florence

  • A wooden statue of St. John the Baptist was created under the commission of the Medici family but is now lost or destroyed.
  • A very ugly statue of Mary Magdalen was created by him in his later life.
  • Near his death he also created another weird statue depicting Judas cutting off Holofernes's head.
  • This weird statue of Judas was supposed to be a fountain but never turned into one for unknown reasons.
  • Some of his works seemed to reveal an insight into human suffering and his exploration of the dark realms of man's experience, this influenced the thoughts of people in the Renaissance.
  • His work can be found in many different places around Florence.
  • The work of Donatello was one of the sparks of the artistic side of the Renaissance.
  • Died in Florence on December 13, 1466 around the age of 80.
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Donatello - The First Modern Sculptor