Saturday, May 28, 2022

Day with Donatello

Confession time. Was my motivation to see a Donatello exhibit in Florence partially motivated by the fact that the high for today was 95 degrees and I was looking for a way to escape the heat? Absolutely. Plus, John and I passed the Palazzo Strozzi every time we went in to central Florence and their advertising game is strong. Am I glad I went (and got the audio guide)? Absolutely.

Though I took an art history class in college, it's all become a blur of flying buttresses and names I recognize without remembering why. Here's a little Florence Renaissance background for us all.

Although the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are named Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Donatello and Raphael, all famous Florentine artists, Donatello is the outlier. He lived from the late 14th to mid 15th century and collaborated with his buddy, Brunelleschi, the architect who put the dome in the Duomo and the vanishing point in art. The other three lived and worked in the mid 15th to early 16th centuries. If they wanted contemporaries, they should have named the fourth turtle Botticelli.

Back to the exhibit. I was not the only one swayed by advertising who was taking advantage of the opportunity to see this collection. I spent my time listening to the audio guide (very helpful), admiring the art and trying to dodge the giant tour groups. They took up a LOT of space.

This was only the first half of the exhibit. The second half, including Donatello's bronze David, is in another museum in town. Not sure if I'll go today. I have no other plans but I'm also maxing out on my art intake.

The interesting thing about this exhibit is they displayed statues by Donatello, in marble, terracotta and bronze, alongside works by artists who had been influenced by Donatello, or worked for Donatello so you could compare and contrast on the spot.

What can I say? It's impressive, overwhelming and made me curious to learn how bronze sculptures were made - the lost wax method of course.

This article gives a good overview, and photos, of many of the pieces on display for this exhibition.

My photos are below and no, I didn't make it to the second museum. Have to save something for a return visit.



Madonna and child in marble.

Young St. John the Baptist.

Not Donatello.

Poor dragon.

Old St. John the Baptist.

Detail of a bronze piece.

Donatello horse head in the front with a Greek horse head from 350 or so in the back.

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