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First Among Sculptors

Portrait of Donatello

Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi, is better known as Donatello (1386–1466). The greatest early Renaissance sculptor appeared as suddenly as a comet at the beginning of Florence’s quattrocento. Never equalled in technical ability, expressiveness, or imaginative content, his works influenced Renaissance painters as much as sculptors. A prolific worker, and a quiet fellow who lived with his mum, Donatello was the perfect model of the early Renaissance artist–passionate about art, self-effacing, occasionally hot-tempered and more than a little eccentric.

The few antecdotes about his life make for an attractive character. Besides the famous dropping his eggs incident at Santa Maria Novella, another story tells how he gave money to a beggar asking alms for the love of God. 'No, not for the love of God,' Donatello said. 'But because you need it.'

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Renaissance Art & Architecture


Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by Anonymous, Donatello, Patrick A. Rodgers, Sailko, GNU Creative Commons License