The Great Florentine sculptor.
Born in 1386 Donatello was the greatest Florentine sculptor of his age, and had worked in the studio of Lorenzo Ghiberti. In his early years he worked in Rome with Fillipo Brunelleschi, excavating and studying in the ancient city.
The lessons that these two artistic giants learned in Rome became important for the future development of Italian art.
Ghiberti is famous for winning the competition to design the doors for the Baptistery in Florence. The artist assisted Ghiberti with some of the work on these doors and had also received artistic training in a goldsmith's workshop. In fact Donatello had earned a living during his time in Rome by working in goldsmiths shops.
The statue of St George, made in about 1420, is one of the most important works in his development. In this work the sculptor had broken with the Gothic style of statues and their solemn rows of saints. St George is totally real, steadfast, and determined in his defiance of any enemy that may approach.
The figures of St George, St Mark and St Louis of Toulouse, were commissioned by the various wealthy Florentine guilds, to fill the niches around the church of Orsanmichele in Florence.
The statue of Zuccone was created for the decoration of Florence Cathedral. There is a famous story that Donatello kept saying 'speak, speak' as he sculptured it.
( I hope he wasn't too disappointed when the statue failed to 'speak'.)
1415-16 marble height 209 cm. (w)
St Mark 1411-1413