Donatello. 1386-1466. Biography. Donato di Niccolo Bardi , known as Donatello, was born in Florence, Italy in 1386. Donatello was the greatest Florentine sculptor before Michelangelo and was the most influential individual artist of the 15th century in Italy .
Donatello was educated at the home of the Martellis, a wealthy and influential Florentine family of bankers and art patrons.
A lot of his sculptures were Renaissance breakthroughs. David, for one, was the first nude statue of the Renaissance, and the equestrian statue, Gattamelata, was considered to be one of the best proportioned sculptures ever. In Donatello's Gothic style he used expressive ugliness to give the statue a life of its own. He used a powerful realism that gives his statues a distinct look.
The Statue of David, created in 1408, was one of Donatello’s earliest and most famous works.
Sculpted from Bronze in the Gothic style, it was a very feminine and unusual sculpture for this time.
The story behind this famous sculpture is to portray David stepping on Goliath’s head after his victorious win against him; only wearing a hat and boots bearing Goliath’s sword. David’s stance portrays that Goliath was no threat to him, and being fully naked portrays the idea that god is present.
He died of unknown causes on December 13, 1466, in Florence and was buried in the Basilica of San Lorenzo, next to his life long friend,Cosimode' Medici.