Donatello (Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi)
sculptor; b. between 1382 and 1387 (Donatello did not know his own age precisely); d. December 13, 1466.
Donatello was the son of a wool carder of Florence (Italy), and received his first training in the atelier of a goldsmith. He spent much time in Rome with Brunellesco between 1403 and 1417. The work ascribed to the early part of his life is characterized to the early part of his life is characterized by extreme realism, and includes the statue of David, called "Zucoone," on the Campanile, the marble David at the Museo Nazionale (about 1416), the seated S. John the Evangelist at the cathedral of Florence, and the S. George of Or San Michele (Donatello's best work). From 1425 to the expulsion of the Medici in 1433 he was assisted by Michelozzi. They made together the tomb of the deposed Pope John XXIII at the baptistery (Florence), the Brancacci monument in Naples (finished about 1427), and the exterior pulpit of the cathedral of Prato, for which the contract was signed July 14, 1428. He finished the tomb of Giovanni de' Medici in the old sacristy of S. Lorenzo (Florence) about 1428. The singing gallery (Cantoria) now in the Museo Nazionale was made between 1433 and 1440. The medallions (copied from antique gems) in the spandrels of the court of the Riccardi palace (Florence) and the bronze doors of the old sacristy of S. Lorenzo belong to the same period. In 1444 he began the great equestrian statue of Erasmo Gattanelata at Padua (finished 1453), and the splendid series of statues and bas-reliefs in the church of S. Antonio in that city.