I have chosen Donatello as the artist I particularly like. The two works of art that I will discuss for this paper are: St. George and Slaying of the Dragon. Donatello belongs to the period of Early Renaissance. The attitude towards the depiction of the human body was classical. Donatello rediscovered the art of the ancient masters. He reintroduced contrapposto (the position in which the statue’s weight is on one leg). Contrapposto means that the figure seems to be in the state of possible movement. The leg which is bearing most of the weight is engaged and the other is free. This gives the sense of life and movement to the sculpture. These statues seem to be alive and remind us of our own bodies. Donatello was influenced by masters of ancient Greece.
St George is made of marble and its height is 208cm. Behind the statue there is the niche which makes the marble capture the light from all angles. The height is colossal and the niche is shallow which makes the sculpture stand out. St. George is wearing armor and representing courage and other moral values. The figure seems to be alive. It popular and captures the spirit of Florence and the renaissance of those times in the 15th century. St. George is inspiring and depicts the renaissance values. He is standing proudly. The statue seems as if it is speaking to the young people in Florence. St. George gives the impression of strength and rest at the same time. The shield is in front of him. He has a long neck. There is determination in his eyes. His legs are strong as well as his hands. This was Donatello’s style at the time. St. George is a hero and that impression is dominant. I am impressed by this statue because it depicts strength and courage. It is set as the example for the youth of Florence in the 15th century. St. George is armed, but his body and limbs are not stiff. Donatello achieved to depict elasticity. St. George’s attitude shows that he is ready for a fight. However his posture is defensive. His eyes seem to be looking at the enemy. St. George is a warrior. Beneath him, there is a relief depicting him slaying the dragon. It is one of his greatest achievements.
Slaying of the Dragon also depicts St. George.
This is a relief. It is made of marble and its height is 40 cm. It is positioned underneath St. George and depicts his heroic act. The girl on the right is a captured princess. A saint has come to set her free. This artwork is revolutionary because this relief is shallow, but there is the illusion of infinite depth. This is the influence of Greek and Roman reliefs. Donatello perfected the art of sculpture in bronze while working with Ghiberti. There is the expression of power. St. George is on his horse as he is conquering the beast. His art resembles the art of ancient Greece. Donatello influenced many of his contemporaries. Bruneleschi was his younger colleague influenced by him.
The relief shows St. George in motion. The style of this relief is new. It is called relievo schiacciato, which means that the relief is flat. There is light and there are shadows. This kind of perspective gives the depth to the perception of the statue. The atmosphere is heroic. St. George is freeing the Cappadocia’s princess. Donatello used the techniques borrowed from painting or drawing. Due to the relief being shallow the figures seem to be in motion in relation to the landscape. Space is just and illusion in this relief. Donatello improved the art of classical world.
I have chosen Donatello because of his revolutionary style and his influence on the youth in Florence during the early Renaissance. He is impressive and his sculptures and reliefs are life-like. Moral values can be seen as the example for the young man. They were supposed to inspire dignity, physical activity, honor and heroism.
While Donatello was inspired by ancient magnificent statues, he also influenced other artists of his period. He depicted beautiful and courageous youth. His statues are life-like and are either ready for movement or they are in motion. Signorelli, Andrea del Castagno and Mantegna were all influenced by Donatello’s St George. Their work resembles Donatello’s. The sense of courage, motion, inspiration can be seen in all works of Donatello. He was ahead of his time and he worked all over Italy. Renaissance was a fruitful period. St. George has dignity and elegance. His killing of the dragon is magnificent and shows fearlessness. Donatello’s work is realistic and his style provokes inspiration and admiration. He inspired his contemporaries while he was inspired by the classical period although his statues show more life. He improved the work of ancient times and left a legacy for other artists.
Janson, H. W. History of Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Publishers New York, 1986. Print.