Magnificent masterpieces by Donatello head to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum


Following on from last year’s magnificent Donatello exhibition in Florence, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)—in collaboration with Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, Museo Nazionale del Bargello and Berlin’s Staatliche Museen—is opening its leg of the touring show on 11 February.

This, the first major UK exhibition dedicated to the radical Italian Renaissance master, will not only benefit from a feast of stunning partnership loans, but will also draw on the V&A’s own scholarship and collection of works by the great sculptor and his contemporaries.

Highlights from Florence include Donatello’s early full-size marble of a youthful David and his audacious bronze Attis-Amorino (around 1440), as well as bronze reliefs from the High Altar of the Basilica of St Anthony in Padua.

Donatello’s Attis-Amorino bronze (around 1440) is among the key works from Florence that will go on show at the V&A Photo: Bruno Bruchi; courtesy of Museo Nazionale del Bargello and the Ministry of Culture Italy

Pride of place will also be given to the V&A’s own carved marble relief, The Ascension with Christ Giving the Keys to St Peter (around 1428-30), which did not travel to Florence. This will be displayed alongside the Museum of Fine Arts Boston’s marble of the Madonna of the Clouds (around 1425-35) and Desiderio da Settignano’s delicate and dynamic Panciatichi Madonna (from the Bargello).

Also unique to the V&A iteration will be a final section devoted to the vexed issue of attribution, offering an opportunity to review the changing status of the V&A’s own Donatellos as well as the work of the artist’s circle and imitators.

Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 11 February-11 June


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