Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance and beyond
Skilled in a variety of materials and techniques, the Florentine Renaissance sculptor Donatello (c.1386-1466) was an innovator, with an innate ability to capture human emotions in sculptural form. Excelling as a collaborator, Donatello ran a variety of busy workshops, including those in Florence and Padua, and engaged in partnerships with others, most notably that with Michelozzo di Bartolomeo. His sculpture was inspirational to those around him, both sculptors and painters. Amongst these were his assistants Bartolomeo Bellano, and Bertoldo di Giovanni, who taught Michelangelo in the Medici sculpture garden, and extended to leading sculptors in the sixteenth century and, notably, those involved in the nineteenth-century revival of Renaissance style.
The V&A’s current exhibition, Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance, is the first in the UK to be dedicated to this prolific and exceptionally talented sculptor. Taking some of the works brought together for the exhibition as the starting point, this talk will explore the impact and enduring legacy of this exceptional sculptor, from his immediate cohorts to those who created works in homage to him five centuries after his death.
Peta Motture is Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the V&A Research Institute, and lead curator of Donatello. Sculpting the Renaissance. Formerly Senior Curator of Sculpture at the V&A, Peta specialises in Italian Renaissance sculpture, and was Chief Curator of the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries, which opened in 2009. She has co-curated several exhibitions, including Depth of Field: The Place of Relief in the time of Donatello (Henry Moore Institute with V&A 2004-5) and Andrea Riccio: Renaissance Master of Bronze (The Frick Collection 2008-9), and has published widely on sculpture as both author and editor, including The Culture of Bronze: Making and Meaning in Italian Renaissance Sculpture (V&A 2019).
Whitney Kerr-Lewis is the Curator of nineteenth-century sculpture at the V&A and co-curator of Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance. Her research currently focuses on Italian nineteenth-century Renaissance-style sculpture and the collecting thereof. Within this area she has published on the Gigli-Campana collection at the V&A, the history of collecting Donatello’s sculpture at South Kensington, the influence of Donatello on Italian Renaissance-style sculpture, and the problematization of ‘fakes’ and ‘forgeries’. As co-curator she formed the nineteenth-century Renaissance Revival section of the current V&A exhibition.