The Italian Renaissance. Speaks of Donatello, Brunelleschi, da Vinci , and Michelangelo

Essay by Michael BradfordCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 1995

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The early Renaissance was home to the sculptor Donato di Niccollo di Bette Bardi, called Donatello, and the architect Filippo Brunelleschi. The two were the elite persons in their field.

Donatello was the preeminent genius of early renaissance sculpture in Florence, Italy. He was a master of all techniques and materials of sculpture. Donatello was the son of Niccolo di Betto Bardi. He was most likely born in 1386, he was already practicing by 1406 as an assistant to sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti (Multimedia). In the year 1416, Donatello started work on the marble statue of St. George and the relief below it, St. George Killing the Dragon (Ward). The Saint stands relaxed, as if deep in thought - an ideal example of the Christian Knight. The remarkably flat relief shows an extensive landscape (Ward).

Donatello's effective use of realism appears in the statue of a prophet know as Lo Zuccone 'The Pumpkinhead,' which he created about 1425 (Ward).

Late in life, Donatello started to use distortion as he tried to show even more realistic emotional expressions. Donatello did three well-known works of David (Multimedia). His bronze David from the 1430's shows the influence of the classical Greeks on his career. His other works include the bronze monument of the Italian General Gattamelata, which he started in 1443 and finished in 1453. Donatello died in 1466 at the age of eighty (Symonds).

A contemporary of Donatello was the architect and engineer Filippo Brunelleschi. Brunelleschi was the second of three sons of Ser Brunellesco di Lippo Lapi and Giuliana Spini (Symonds). Born in Florence, Brunelleschi began his career as a goldsmith, and in 1418 decided to become an architect. He developed techniques for lifting construction materials into place for creating domes. He invented linear perspective, which is used to show depth on...