Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (circa 1386 – December 13, 1466) was an early Renaissance Italian artist and sculptor from Florence. He is, in part, known for his work in bas-relief, a form of shallow relief sculpture that, in Donatello’s case, incorporated significant 15th century developments in perspectival illusionism.
Around 1430, Cosimo de’ Medici, the foremost art patron of his era, commissioned from Donatello the bronze David (now in the Bargello) for the court of his Palazzo Medici. This is now Donatello’s most famous work. At the time of its creation, it was the first known free-standing nude statue produced since ancient times. Conceived fully in the round, independent of any architectural surroundings, and largely representing an allegory of the civic virtues triumphing over brutality and irrationality, it was the first major work of Renaissance sculpture.
Donatello’s bronze statue of David (circa 1440s) is famous as the first unsupported standing work of bronze cast during the Renaissance, and the first freestanding nude male sculpture made since antiquity. It depicts David with an enigmatic smile, posed with his foot on Goliath’s severed head just after defeating the giant. The youth is completely naked, apart from a laurel-topped hat and boots, bearing the sword of Goliath.
Works of past masters like Donatello help me to visualise the body and how it would look photographed with all the curves and folds. I like looking at history and so this has been interesting to see how other people see the human form.