Facts about Donatello

Born: c. 1386
Died: December, 1466
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Best known as: Early Renaissance sculptor of the bronze David


Donatello Biography

Name at birth: Donato di Niccolô di Betto Bardi

A towering figure in the history of western art, Donatello was an Italian sculptor of the Early Renaissance whose work is seen as a bridge from classic to modern art.

He trained in Florence with Lorenzo Ghiberti and began working on his own in 1408. A student of antiquity and master craftsman, Donatello is considered one of the founders of modern sculpture because of he created realistic human expressions and stressed action and character. He is famous for his use of perspectives, including physical distortions for dramatic effect, and was a master craftsman with a flair for invention.

Donatello is known to have visited Rome (1403 and 1433), and for a time he had a workshop in Padua (1443-53), but he spent most of his life in Florence. His works there include St. George, John the Evangelist and Magdalen. He is considered the first sculptor since antiquity to create free-standing statues (separate from an architectural framework), and his life-size bronze equestrian portrait of Gattamelata (the popular name of commander Erasmo da Narni) is said to be the first since ancient Rome. His other famous works are the monument to the antipope John XXIII and his bronze statue of David.


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