In Pictures: A Once-In-a-Lifetime Donatello Exhibition Surveys the Renaissance Master’s Revolutionary Sculptural Practice

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One of the most iconic artists of the early Renaissance whose ideas helped revolutionize Western culture forever, Donatello is the subject of a new once-in-a-lifetime survey at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The Italian artist is believed by many to be the greatest sculptor of all time thanks to his inspired reinvention of historical influences, including Classical antiquity and elegant medieval art. These ideas contributed to a novel and entirely unique vision that Donatello expressed through an impressive range of works in marble, wood, bronze, terracotta, and stucco.

Some of the best examples in the show, which brings together about 130 objects, include the marble , the stone relief , and other works that have never before been seen in the U.K., such as the eye-catching gold reliquary bust of San Rossore.

Donatello’s varied life—from his humble beginnings as an apprentice goldsmith only to his time as an intimate of the powerful Medici family—also offers audiences a fascinating entry point into Florentine society during the 15th century. Building up this rich cultural context, the exhibition brings to life the old master’s artistic circle, including his teacher Ghiberti, one-time partner Michelozzo, colleagues from across northern Italy like Mantegna and Bellini and the goldsmith that his work inspired Beltramino de Zuttis.

See some of the highlights from the show below.

Installation view of "Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance" at the V&A Museum. Photo: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Installation view of “Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance” at the V&A Museum. Photo: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Donatello, Spiritello with a tambourine. Photo by Antje Voigt, Berlin, courtesy of Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin.

Donatello, Pazzi Madonna. Photo by Antje Voigt, Berlin, courtesy of Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin.

Installation view of "Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance" at the V&A Museum. Photo: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Installation view of “Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance” at the V&A Museum. Photo: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Attributed to Donatello, Drawing of the Massacre of the Innocents, Rennes. Photo courtesy of Musée des Beaux-Arts.

Installation view of "Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance" at the V&A Museum. Photo: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Installation view of “Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance” at the V&A Museum. Photo: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Installation view of "Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance" at the V&A Museum. Photo: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Installation view of “Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance” at the V&A Museum. Photo: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Donatello, San Rossore. Photo courtesy of The Ministry of Culture Italy – Regional Directorate of Museums of Tuscany, Florence.

Installation view of "Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance" at the V&A Museum. Photo: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Installation view of “Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance” at the V&A Museum. Photo: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Installation view of "Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance" at the V&A Museum. Photo: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Installation view of “Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance” at the V&A Museum. Photo: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Michelozzo, Adoring Angel, commissioned from Donatello and Michelozzo’s joint studio. Photo: © Victoria and Albert Museum London.

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