Donatello was the greatest Florentine Sculptor before Michelangelo. He was the most influential artist of the 15th century in Italy. Donatello was born in 1386 given the full birth name of Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardi. He was born and raised in Florence, Italy. He also died in Florence at 80 years old.
Donatello was a man with short hair and a relatively clean face. Sometimes his hair was a tad longer and he grew out his beard a little.
Donatello was father, Niccolo di Betto Bardi, was a member of the Florentine Wool Combers Guild. This gave Donatello the status of the son of a craftsman and a route to becoming a worker in the trades.
Donatello was educated thoroughly in the home of the Martellis and apprenticed with Lorenzo Ghiberti, a well educated sculptor and metalsmith. Donatello learned metallurgy and the fabrication of metals along his side.
Donatello helped Lorenzo Ghiberti create the famous bronze doors for the Baptistery of the Florence Cathedral. They both beat out the famous artist Filippo Branelleschi for the job.
Donatello then went on his own creating his own famous sculptures. He used the Gothic genre in his artwork. The first of his projects that portrayed his Gothic style was the marble statue of David. Donatello finished this sculpture in 1408. The sculpture was life-sized and wonderfully made.
Donatello created two other famous sculptures between 1411 and 1415. These sculptures were the marble figure of St. Mark and the statue of St. John the evangelist for the cathedral in Florence.
Donatello created many wonderfully produced sculptures in his time, however, his most famous piece of artwork was the bronze statue of David. The statue was finished in 1430 and was requested by the eminent art patron.