The 'master of all masters’ Donatello returns to the Tuscan capital

Donatello, Madonna col Bambino (Madonna Pazzi) 1422 circa. Berlino, Staatliche Museen, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst Photo: Antje Voigt

 FLORENCE – Palazzo Strozzi and the Bargello Museum are showcasing Donatello's most important masterpieces side by side with works by artists such as Brunelleschi, Masaccio, Mantegna, Giovanni Bellini, Michelangelo and Raphael, the first exhibition of its kind, open until July 31.

 The exhibition aims to reconstruct the extraordinary path of one of the most important and influential masters of Italian art of all time, while providing comparison with masterpieces by contemporary artists such as Brunelleschi and Masaccio, Mantegna and Giovanni Bellini, but also later greats such as Raphael and Michelangelo.

 A reference artist of the fifteenth century, the golden century of Italian art, and a favorite of the Medici family, along with Brunelleschi and Masaccio, Donatello was key initiator of the Florentine Renaissance, proposing new techniques and ideas that have forever marked the history of Western art.

 Donatello revolutionised the very idea of ​​sculpture, with a unique figurative vision in which he combines the discoveries on perspective with a totally new concept of plasticity. The central theme of his work is Man, and the human dimension in all its depth realistically embraces the most diverse facets of emotions, from sweetness to cruelty, from joy to the most excruciating pain.

 Curated by Francesco Caglioti, professor of Medieval Art History at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, ‘Donatello, the Renaissance’ is comprised of some 130 works including sculptures, paintings and drawings with unique loans, some of which have never been granted before, coming from almost 60 of among the most important museums and institutions in the world. These include the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Gallery in London, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Staatliche Museen in Berlin, the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna, the Uffizi Galleries, the Basilica of Sant'Antonio in Padua and the Florentine basilicas of San Lorenzo, Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella.

 Spread across two locations, Palazzo Strozzi and the Bargello National Museum, the exhibition offers a journey through Donatello's life and fortune divided into 14 sections. It starts with exploring his dialogue with Brunelleschi, before proceeding through the various places Donatello worked (Siena, Prato and Padua, as well as Florence), before he met much younger artists such as Mantegna and Bellini, and experimented with his formidable plastic and sculptural inventions in the most diverse materials. The exhibition concludes with a special section dedicated to Donatello's influence on subsequent artists, including Raphael, Michelangelo and Bronzino, thus testifying the capital importance of his work for the future of Italian art.

 The exhibition is promoted and organised by the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation and the Bargello Museums in collaboration with the Staatliche Museen in Berlin and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and with the Fondo Edifici di Culto - Ministry of the Interior. Main Supporter: CR Firenze Foundation. Supporters: Municipality of Florence, Tuscany Region, Florence Chamber of Commerce, Palazzo Strozzi Partners Committee. Main Partner: Intesa Sanpaolo.




Donatello, David vittorioso 1435-1440 circa. Firenze, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, inv. Bronzi 95