Humans are forming the world like an artist forms a piece of clay: into what we think we want it to be, but adjusting to the flaws along the way. Artists are a major key in how society and humanity morphs throughout time. Some of the most influential people in the civilization of humankind are significant early artists like Michelangelo, di Vinci, and Picasso. Art, like the world, is anything created. It is used by artists to record and commemorate our history, and to put ideas into tangible forms. The universal psyche of our species is developed by monumental, and oftentimes biblical, pieces of work.
One of the most talented and critical artists of all time was Donatello. Born in 1386 in Florence, Italy, Donatello made use of natural talent and high-priced education to start making a living off of commissions at a young age. His first great work was the life-sized sculpture, “David.” He sculpted it out of marble in 1408, and later was commissioned to do another copy of it in bronze. Becoming one of his most famous pieces, this piece not only represented the biblical battle of David and Goliath, but also became a symbol for the city of Padua, to them representing their triumph over the enemy, a rival city. “Standing a little over five feet tall, David represents an allegory of civic virtue triumphing over brutality and irrationality.” (“Donatello’s David”) Despite controversy of some of his pieces of work, like a warrior and horse piece made when equestrian works were supposedly only intended for kings or rulers, Donatello spent most of his life on commissions that occasionally became prototypes for another piece, like the copy of “David”.
Donatello left a large footprint in the development of sculpting as a form of art, mainly because of his individual style. He was known for helping push the idea of sculpting away from using only flat surfaces. Donatello often made large, full-bodied sculptures that could be viewed from all angles. He liked to portray realistic scenes, usually people, with measurable emotions in their face and body-language. He used, in some of his works, an S-shaped stance in his bodies called contrapposto. This was a style noted as how real humans often-times stood, and also gave the work a sense of life and sensuality on top of the life-like detailed presented on the sculpture in its entirety. Donatello had a knack for the ability to give his pieces incredible detail, as well as true, readable emotion and action.
Donatello is an artist that strove for perfection while driving away from the “norms” of sculpting during his time. I believe that his works very likely expressed a desire to pursue his sexuality as well as satirize the importance of religion and social stature at the time. To me, Donatello’s “David” is too comical to be a serious representation of the religious story of David and Goliath, not to mention the sword he holds challenges the initial story. Controversy arises about which weapon David used, the slingshot...