Italian sculptor


Donatello is considered to be one of the greatest sculptors of all time. His techniques are still used by sculptors today.


Donatello was a great Italian sculptor, who was born in Florence, Italy, in 1386, and died at the age of 80 in 1466. He did not marry and had no children. He started practicing at the age of 20 and worked in Lorenzo Ghiberti's shop. Later in his life he studied Roman ruins and became a humanist. Donatello also had a shop in Florence where he created many of his masterpieces.

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.


Many of Donatello's masterpieces are located in Florence. Some of these masterpieces include: St. Peter, St. Mark, Zuccone, St. George and the Dragon, St. John the Evangelist, Magdalen, and Angel with Tambourine. Other pieces considered to be some of his finest work are: Herod's Feast, St. Louis of Toulouse, St. Peter, St. Anthony, an equestrian statue called Gattamelata, and Jeremiah.

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.

Donatello's "David"


1. Craven, Thomas. The Rainbow Book of Art. New York, World Publishing Company, 1972, pp. 68.

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.

This page was prepared by Andrew and Chris, Grade 8, Riverdale Junior Secondary School.