The city of Florence paid for his sculpture of David. Patrons found him very hard to deal with and to work with. He was not a cultured intellect like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Donatello was essentially a realist.
A lot of his sculptures were Renaissance breakthroughs. David, for one, was the first nude statue of the Renaissance, and the equestrian statue, Gattamelata, was considered to be one of the best proportioned sculptures ever. In Donatello's Gothic style he used expressive ugliness to give the statue a life of its own. He used a powerful realism that gives his statues a distinct look.
Donatello had an immense impact on the art and the artists of the Renaissance. He invented the shallow relief technique. In the shallow relief technique the sculpture seems deep but is actually done on a very shallow plane.
Donatello characterized his figures as individuals. He also made the first bronze sculpture. These were the stepping stones for sculptors to use other materials.
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2. "Donatello." Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc., 1995.
3. Janson, Horst W. "Donatello." Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., 1985, vol. 4, pp. 171-172.
4. Kurian, George. Dictionary of Biography. New York, Dell Publishing Co., Inc., 1980, pp. 188.