Donatello (c.1386-1466) was an Italian sculptor of the Renaissance. Donatello was instrumental in revolutionizing sculpture, working in bas-relief. Having studied under Ghiberti and Brunelleschi, Donatello’s work is considered to be highly influential on the Renaissance.
Born and raised in Florence, Italy, Donatello assisted Ghiberti on the doors of the Florence Baptistery, an early innovation in low relief sculpture. Bas-relief, in which an image is projected with shallow depth (as found on coins), was revived in the Renaissance for ornamental usage. Donatello then produced an enormous seated St. John the Evangelist between 1409 and 1411, an innovative step towards realism.
In 1430, Cosimo de ‘Medici commissioned Donatello to produce a bronze figure of David for the courtyard of his palazzo. Now considered to be Donatello’s most famous work, it was the first freestanding nude statue produced since the ancient world. In 1443, Donatello worked in Padua, commissioned to create an enormous bronze equestrian statue, the Gattamellata. It was again the first instance of such a work since classical times. In 1453, Donatello returned to Florence, where his last commissioned works included reliefs fro the pulpits in the Church of San Lorenzo, utilizing an innovative technique of non-finito, in order to highlight the dramatic tension of the work.