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Donatello Facts


Facts about Donatello

Donatello would become one of Florence's early Renaissance sculptors. Whilst undertaking studies as a goldsmith shop he, together with Filippo Brunelleschi in Rome, would gain the reputation as treasure seekers.

Donatello’s work would become synonymous with this era in the pieces he produced. Most of his work was created in Florence but he did produce some work in Padua.

Donatello Fact Sheet: Who was Donatello? The following short biography and fact sheet provides interesting facts about the life, times and history of Donatello, the famous Renaissance artist.

Donatello Fact File: Lifespan: 1386 - 1466 *** Full Name: Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi would become better known as Donatello *** Date of Birth: He was born 1386, an exact date is not known *** Place of Birth: He was born in Florence, Italy *** Family background: His father was Niccolò di Betto Bardi, a member of the Florentine Wool Combers Guild. He was not to marry of have children *** Early life and childhood: He grew up and spent the majority of his life in Florence *** Education: He was educated in the home of an affluent and powerful family, the Martellis, a family with a strong banking background who were patrons of the arts and very closely tied to the Medici family.

Donatello Fact 1: He was born during the Renaissance period in history which began in Northern Italy during the 14th century

Donatello Fact 2: It is believed while he was with the Martellis family he was given his first instructions on becoming a goldsmith.

Donatello Fact 3: He would become the apprentice of Lorenzo Ghiberti in 1403.

Donatello Fact 4: Several years later he would assist Ghiberti, having won the commission to create the bronze doors for the Florence Cathedral Baptistery. It was said his bid beat the likes of Filippo Brunelleschi.

Donatello Fact 5: He travelled to Rome with Brunelleschi and together they excavated and studied. They earned a reputation for being treasure seekers.

Donatello Fact 6: While living in Rome, he earned his living as a goldsmith.

Donatello Fact 7: It is believed the work of both Donatello and Brunelleschi was very influential at this time in the development of the artists of this era.

Donatello Fact 8: For two years from 1409 he worked on a monumental task of creating Saint John the Evangelist in a seated position.

Donatello Fact 9: It was this piece of work that denoted the change in his work from the Gothic Mannerism to a much more natural and lifelike feel in the facial features and the shoulders, the way they hands fold in relaxation and the way the cloth folds over the knees is far more realistic.

Donatello Fact 10: For the next couple of years he worked on a statue for the guild church of Orsanmichele. The statue was of St Mark.

Donatello Fact 11: From 1416 for the next eleven years he was busy creating five statues in Florence for the campanile of Santa Maria del Fiore, known as the Beardless Prophet, Bearded Prophet, the Sacrifice of Isaac, Habbakuk and Jeremiah.

Donatello Fact 12: In 1425 he was asked, together with Michelozzo, to work together on the monument funerary for Antipope John XXIII in Florence for the Battistero.

Donatello Fact 13: He was further asked to complete a funerary monument for Cardinal Rainaldo Branacci in Naples at the church of Sant’Angelo a Nilo at the same time creating reliefs for the Feast of Herod and statues of Hope and Faith for the Baptistery of San Giovanni in Siena.

Donatello Fact 14: Cosimo de’ Medici was a leading patrol of the arts during this period and commissioned Donatella to create for him the statue of David in bronze.

Donatello Fact 15: This bronze statue of David would become Donatello most famous body of work.

Donatello Fact 16: With Cosimo exiled from Florence, he travelled to Rome and remained there until 1433.

Donatello Fact 17: Returning to Florence in 1434 he signed a contract to create a marble pulpit for the Prato cathedrals façade. This would be the last collaboration between Donatello and Michelozzo.

Donatello Fact 18: Commissioned by the heirs of condottiero Erasmo da Narni he travelled to Padua where he spent 17 years creating his statue of Gattamelata, an equestrian statue placed in the square and facing the Basilica of St Anthony.

Donatello Fact 19: During the same period he also created four immensely important reliefs depicting scenes from the life of St Anthony for the high altar.

Donatello Fact 20: He returned to Florence and continued to work for some years before he died on December 13th 1466. His body was laid to rest in the Basilica of San Lorenzo right next to that of Cosimo de’ Medici the Elder.

Notable Events of the Renaissance and during the life of Donatello include: In 1421 the first patent was granted in Florence for a barge with hoists to be used to transport marble. The Hundred Years War ends with the French capturing Bordeaux, the last holding of the English except for Calais, a port city and the Wars of the Roses begins in England.

List of Famous Works by Donatello:

St Mark c. 1411 – 1413
St George Tabernacle c.1415 – 1417
The Feast of Herod c.1425
David c.1425 – 1430
Madonna of the Clouds c.1425 – 1430
Magdalene Penitent c.1455
Virgin with Child with Four Angels or Chellini Madonna c.1456

Short Facts about Donatello for Kids
The above short facts detail interesting information about the life, milestones, history and key events that occurred during the life of this famous character. A fast, simple way to present a short biography of Donatello with important dates and info that provides details such as the date of birth (birthday), place of birth, education, family, work and career. An ideal educational resource for kids, schools, teachers and social studies.

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