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Title: Donatello, by Lord Balcarres
Author: Crawford, David Lindsay, Earl of, 1871-1940
Language: English
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Transcriber's note:

   In the original text the name "Verrocchio" is, except for one
   instance, misspelled as "Verrochio"; the name "Buonarroti" is
   twice misspelled as "Buonarotti"; the name "Orcagna" is once
   misspelled as "Orcagra"; and the name "Vasari" is once
   misspelled as "Vassari." These have been corrected in this
   e-text.

   Variants, archaic forms, or Anglicizations of other names
   (e.g., "Michael Angelo" for "Michelangelo"; "Or San Michele"
   for "Orsanmichele"; "Brunellesco" for "Brunelleschi") have
   been retained as they appear in the original.

   Characters with macrons are indicated in brackets, e.g. [=U].

   Characters following a caret character are superscripted, e.g.
   M^a.



DONATELLO

by

LORD BALCARRES



[Illustration: _Alinari_

CHRIST ON THE CROSS

SANT' ANTONIO, PADUA]



[Illustration: DESORMAIS]



London: Duckworth and Co.
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons
1903
All rights reserved
Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co.
at the Ballantyne Press



PREFACE


An attempt is made in the following pages to determine the position
and character of Donatello's art in relation to that of his
contemporaries and successors. The subject must be familiar to many
who have visited Florence, but no critical work on the subject has
been published in English. I have therefore quoted as many authorities
as possible in order to assist those who may wish to look further into
problems which are still unsettled. Most of the books to which
reference is made can be consulted in the Art Library at South
Kensington, and in the British Museum. Foreign critics have written a
good deal about Donatello from varied, if somewhat limited aspects.
Dr. Bode's researches are, as a rule, illustrative of the works of art
in the Berlin Museum. The main object of Dr. Semper was to collect
documentary evidence about the earlier part of Donatello's life;
Gloria and Gonzati have made researches into the Paduan period; Lusini
confines his attention to Siena, Centofanti to Pisa; M. Reymond and
Eugène Müntz are more comprehensive in their treatment of the subject.

With eleven or twelve exceptions I have seen the original of every
existing piece of sculpture, architecture and painting mentioned in
this book. I regret, however, that among the exceptions should be a
work by Donatello himself, namely, the Salome relief at Lille--my
visits to that town having unfortunately coincided with public
holidays, when the gallery was closed. I must express my thanks to the
officials of Museums, as well as to private collectors all over
Europe, for unfailing courtesy and assistance. I have also to
acknowledge my indebtedness to the invaluable advice of Mr. S. Arthur
Strong, Librarian of the House of Lords.

21.vi.1903



CONTENTS


                                                             PAGE

INTRODUCTION                                                    1

COMPETITION FOR THE BAPTISTERY GATES                            2

FIRST JOURNEY TO ROME                                           3

THE PREDECESSORS OF DONATELLO                                   5

FIRST WORK FOR THE CATHEDRAL                                    7

THE CATHEDRAL FAÇADE                                            8

THE DANIEL AND POGGIO                                          10

ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST AND THE MARBLE DAVID                   14

STATUES OF THE CAMPANILE                                       17

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST                                           18

JEREMIAH AND THE CANON OF ART                                  20

HABAKKUK AND THE SENSE OF DISTANCE                             23

THE ZUCCONE, "REALISM" AND NATURE                              26

THE ZUCCONE AND THE SENSE OF LIGHT AND SHADE                   29

ABRAHAM AND THE SENSE OF PROPORTION                            30

DRAPERY AND HANDS                                              31

MINOR WORKS FOR THE CATHEDRAL                                  33

OR SAN MICHELE, ST. PETER AND ST. MARK                         35

ST. LOUIS                                                      38

ST. GEORGE                                                     39

DONATELLO AND GOTHIC ART                                       42

THE CRUCIFIX AND ANNUNCIATION                                  47

MARTELLI, DAVID, AND DONATELLO'S TECHNIQUE                     52

EARLY FIGURES OF ST. JOHN                                      56

DONATELLO AS ARCHITECT AND PAINTER                             59

THE SIENA FONT                                                 70

MICHELOZZO AND THE COSCIA TOMB                                 72

THE ARAGAZZI TOMB                                              76

THE BRANCACCI TOMB                                             77

STIACCIATO                                                     80

TOMBS OF PECCI, CRIVELLI, AND OTHERS                           82

THE SECOND VISIT TO ROME                                       88

WORK AT ROME                                                   94

THE MEDICI MEDALLIONS                                          97

THE BRONZE DAVID                                               99

DONATELLO AND CHILDHOOD                                       103

THE CANTORIA                                                  107

THE PRATO PULPIT                                              109

OTHER CHILDREN BY DONATELLO                                   113

BOYS' BUSTS                                                   116

NICCOLÒ DA UZZANO AND POLYCHROMACY                            121

PORTRAIT-BUSTS                                                125

RELIEF-PORTRAITS                                              131

SAN LORENZO                                                   133

THE BRONZE DOORS                                              135

THE JUDITH                                                    140

THE MAGDALEN AND SIMILAR STATUES                              144

THE ALTAR AT PADUA                                            149

THE LARGE STATUES                                             152

THE BRONZE RELIEFS                                            156

THE SYMBOLS OF THE EVANGELISTS                                161

THE CHOIR OF ANGELS                                           163

THE PIETÀ AND THE ENTOMBMENT                                  164

DONATELLO'S ASSISTANTS                                        167

BELLANO AND THE GATTAMELATA TOMBS                             170

GATTAMELATA                                                   173

SMALLER RELIEFS AND PLAQUETTES                                176

THE MADONNAS                                                  179

THE PULPITS OF SAN LORENZO                                    186

DONATELLO'S INFLUENCE ON SCULPTURE                            190

EARLY CRITICISM OF DONATELLO                                  193

CHARACTER AND PERSONALITY OF DONATELLO                        194

APPENDIX I                                                    199

APPENDIX II                                                   201

APPENDIX III                                                  204

INDEX                                                         207



ILLUSTRATIONS


Christ on the Cross                    _Frontispiece_

Joshua                                 _To face page_          10

Poggio                                       "                 12

Mocenigo Tomb                                "                 14

Marble David                                 "                 16

St. John the Evangelist                      "                 18

Jeremiah                                     "                 20

Habakkuk                                     "                 24

The Zuccone                                  "                 26

Abraham and Isaac                            "                 30

St. Mark                                     "                 36

St. George                                   "                 40

St. George                                   "                 42

Annunciation                                 "                 48

San Giovannino                               "                 56

St. John Baptist, Marble                     "                 58

Clay Sketch of Crucifixion and Flagellation  "                 62

Niche of Or San Michele                      "                 64

The Marzocco                                 "                 66

The Martelli Shield                          "                 68

Salome Relief, Siena                         "                 70

Tomb of Coscia, Pope John XXIII.             "                 72

Effigy of Pope John XXIII.                   "                 74

Tomb of Cardinal Brancacci                   "                 78

Tomb Plate of Bishop Pecci                   "                 86

Tabernacle                                   "                 94

The Charge to Peter                          "                 96

The Bronze David                             "                100

Cantoria                                     "                106

Cantoria (Detail)                            "                108

The Prato Pulpit                             "                110

Bronze Amorino                               "                114

San Giovannino                               "                118

Niccolò da Uzzano                            "                122

Bronze Doors                                 "                136

Judith                                       "                140

St. Mary Magdalen                            "                144

St. John the Baptist                         "                146

Saint Francis, the Madonna, and Saint
  Anthony                                    "                152

Miracle of the Speaking Babe                 "                156

Miracle of the Miser's Heart                 "                158

Miracle of the Mule                          "                160

Symbol of St. Matthew                        "                162

Choristers                                   "                164

Choristers                                   "                164

Christ Mourned by Angels                     "                166

Super Altar by Giovanni da Pisa              "                168

Tomb of Giovanni, Son of General Gattamelata "                170

Tomb of General Gattamelata                  "                172

Shrine of St. Justina                        "                172

General Gattamelata                          "                174

Colleone                                     "                176

Madonna and Child                            "                180

"Pazzi" Madonna                              "                182

Madonna and Child                            "                184

Madonna                                      "                186

Side Panel of Pulpit                         "                188

End Panel of Pulpit                          "                190

     _The reproductions from photographs which illustrate this
     volume have been made by Messrs. J.J. Waddington, Ltd. 14
     Henrietta Street, W.C._



DONATELLO


The materials for a biography of Donatello are so scanty, that his
life and personality can only be studied in his works. The Renaissance
gave birth to few men of productive genius whose actual careers are so
little known. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Donatello composed no
treatise on his art; he wrote no memoir or commentary, no sonnets, and
indeed scarcely a letter of his even on business topics has survived.
For specific information about his career we therefore depend upon
some returns made to the Florentine tax-collectors, and upon a number
of contracts and payments for work carried out in various parts of
Italy. But, however familiar Donatello the sculptor may be to the
student of Italian art, Donatello the man must remain a mystery. His
biography offers no attraction for those whose curiosity requires
minute and intimate details of domestic life. Donatello bequeathed
nothing to posterity except a name, his masterpieces and a lasting
influence for good.

The _Denunzia de' beni_, which was periodically demanded from
Florentine citizens, was a declaration of income combined with what
would now be called census returns. Donatello made three statements of
this nature,[1] in 1427, 1433 and 1457. It is difficult to determine
his age, as in each case the date of his birth is differently
inferred. But it is probable that the second of these returns, when he
said that he was forty-seven years old, gives his correct age. This
would place his birth in 1386, and various deductions from other
sources justify this attribution. We gather also that Donatello lived
with his mother Orsa, his father having died before 1415. The widow,
who is mentioned in 1427, and not in 1433, presumably died before the
latter date. One sister, Tita, a dowerless widow, is mentioned in the
earliest _denunzia_, living with her mother and Donatello, her son
Giuliano having been born in 1409. It is probable that Donatello had a
brother, but the matter is somewhat obscure, and it is now certain
that he cannot be identified with the sculptor Simone, who used to be
considered Donatello's brother on the authority of Vasari.

[Footnote 1: Gaye, Carteggio, i. 120. See Appendix II. A.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Competition for the Baptistery Gates.]

The year 1402 marks an event of far-reaching importance in the history
of Italian art. Having decided to erect bronze doors for their
Baptistery, the Florentines invited all artists to submit competitive
designs. After a preliminary trial, six artists were selected and a
further test was imposed. They were directed to make a bronze relief
of given size and shape, the subject being the Sacrifice of Isaac. Few
themes could have been better chosen, as the artist had to show his
capacity to portray youth and age, draped and undraped figures, as
well as landscape and animal life. The trial plaques were to be sent
to the judges within twelve months. Donatello did not compete, being
only a boy, but he must have been familiar with every stage in the
contest, which excited the deepest interest in Tuscany. A jury of
thirty-four experts, among whom were goldsmiths and painters as well
as sculptors, assembled to deliver the final verdict. The work of
Jacobo della Quercia of Siena was lacking in elegance and delicacy;
the design submitted by Simone da Colle was marred by faulty drawing;
that of Niccolo d'Arezzo by badly proportioned figures; while
Francesco di Valdambrino made a confused and inharmonious group. It
was evident that Ghiberti and Brunellesco were the most able
competitors, and the jury hesitated before giving a decision.
Brunellesco, however, withdrew in favour of his younger rival, and the
commission was accordingly entrusted to Ghiberti. The decision was
wise: Ghiberti's model, technically as well as æsthetically, was
superior to that of Brunellesco. Both are preserved at Florence, and
nobody has regretted the acceptance of Ghiberti's design, for its
rejection would have made a sculptor of Brunellesco, whose real tastes
and inclinations were towards architecture, to which he rendered
services of incomparable value.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: First Journey to Rome.]

For a short time Donatello was probably one of the numerous _garzoni_
or assistants employed by Ghiberti in making the gates, but his first
visit to Rome is the most important incident of his earlier years.
Brunellesco, disappointed by his defeat, and wishing to study the
sculpture and architecture of Rome, sold a property at Settignano to
raise funds for the journey. He was accompanied by Donatello, his
_stretissimo amico_, [Transcriber's Note: Probably should be
"strettissimo."] and they spent at least a year together in Rome,
learning what they could from the existing monuments of ancient art,
and making jewelry when money was wanted for their household expenses.
Tradition says that they once unearthed a hoard of old coins and were
thenceforward known as the treasure-seekers--_quelli del' tesoro_. But
the influence of antiquity upon Donatello was never great, and
Brunellesco had to visit Rome frequently before he could fully realise
the true bearings of classical art. It has been argued that Donatello
never made this early visit to Rome on the ground that his subsequent
work shows no traces of classical influence. On such a problem as this
the affirmative statement of Vasari is lightly disregarded. But the
biographer of Brunellesco is explicit on the point, giving many
details about their sojourn; and this book was written during the
lifetime of both Donatello and Brunellesco. The argument against the
visit is, in fact, untenable. Artists were influenced by classical
motives without going to Rome. Brunellesco himself placed in his
competition design a figure inspired by the bronze boy drawing a thorn
out of his foot--the _Spinario_ of the Capitol. Similar examples could
be quoted from the work of Luca della Robbia, and it would be easy to
show, on the other hand, that painters like Masaccio, Fra Angelico,
and Piero della Francesca were able to execute important work in Rome
without allowing themselves to be influenced by the classical spirit
except in details and accessories. Moreover, if one desired to press
the matter further, it can be shown that in the work completed by
Donatello before 1433, the year in which he made his second and
undisputed visit, there are sufficient signs of classical motive in
his architectural backgrounds to justify the opinion that he was
acquainted with the ancient buildings of Rome. The Relief on the font
at Siena and that in the Musée Wicar at Lille certainly show classical
study. At the same time, in measuring the extent to which Donatello
was influenced by his first visit to Rome, we must remember that it is
often difficult and sometimes impossible to determine the source of
what is generically called classical. The revival or reproduction of
Romanesque motives is often mistaken for classical research. In the
places where Christianity had little classical architecture to guide
it--Ravenna, for instance--a new line was struck out; but elsewhere
the Romanesque had slowly emerged from the classical, and in many
cases there was no strict line of demarcation between the two. But
Donatello was very young when he went to Rome, and the fashion of the
day had not then turned in favour of classical study. The sculptors
working in Rome, colourless men as they were, drew their inspiration
from Gothic and pre-Renaissance ideals. In Florence the ruling motives
were even more Gothic in tendency. It is in this school that Donatello
found his earliest training, and though he modified and transcended
all that his teachers could impart, his sculpture always retained a
character to which the essential elements of classical art contributed
little or nothing.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: The Predecessors of Donatello.]

Florence was busily engaged in decorating her great buildings. The
fourteenth century had witnessed the structural completion of the
Cathedral, excepting its dome, of the Campanile, and of the Church of
Or San Michele. During the later years of the century their adornment
was begun. A host of sculptors was employed, the number and scale of
statues required being great. There was a danger that the sculpture
might have become a mere handmaid of the architecture to which it was
subordinated. But this was not the case; the sculptors preserved a
freedom in adapting their figures to the existing architectural lines,
and it is precisely in the statuary applied to completed buildings
that we can trace the most interesting transitions from Gothic to
Renaissance. It is needless to discuss closely the work which was
erected before Donatello's return from Rome: much of it has unhappily
perished, and what remains is for the purposes of this book merely
illustrative of the early inspiration of Donatello. Piero Tedesco made
a number of statues for the Cathedral, Mea and Giottino worked for the
Campanile. Lorenzo di Bicci, sculptor, architect, and painter, was one
of those whose influence extended to Donatello; Niccolo d'Arezzo was
perhaps the most original of this group, making a genuine effort to
shake off the conventional system. But, on the whole, the last quarter
of the fourteenth century showed but little progress. Indeed, from the
time of the later Pisani there seems to have been a period of
stagnation, a pause during which the anticipated progress bore little
fruit. Orcagna never succeeded in developing the ideas of his master.
The shrine in Or San Michele, marvellous in its way, admirable alike
for diligence and sincerity, stands alone, and was not imbued with the
life which could make it an influence upon contemporary art.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: First Work for the Cathedral.]

The first recorded payment to Donatello by the Domopera, or Cathedral
authorities, was made in November 1406, when he received ten golden
florins as an instalment towards his work on the two prophets for the
North door of the church, which is rather inaccurately described in
the early documents as facing the Via de' Servi. Fifteen months later
he received the balance of six florins. These two marble figures,
small as they are, and placed high above the gables, are not very
noticeable, but they contain the germ of much which was to follow. The
term "prophet" can only be applied to them by courtesy, for they are
curly-haired boys with free and open countenances; one of them happens
to hold a scroll and the other wears a chaplet of bay leaves. There is
a certain charm about them, a freshness and vitality which reappears
later on when Donatello was making the dancing children for the Prato
pulpit and the singing gallery for the Cathedral. The two prophets,
particularly the one to the right, are clothed with a skill and
facility all the more remarkable from the fact that some of the
statues made soon afterwards, show a stiff and rigid treatment of
drapery. Closely allied to these figures is a small marble statue,
about three feet high, belonging to Madame Edouard André in Paris. It
is a full-length figure of a standing youth, modelled with precision,
and intended to be placed in a niche or against a background. Like the
prophets just described, it has a high forehead, while the drapery
falls in strong harmonious lines, a corner being looped up over the
left arm. It is undoubtedly by Donatello, being the earliest example
of his work in any collection, public or private, and on that account
of importance, apart from its intrinsic merits.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: The Cathedral Façade.]

Donatello soon received commissions for statues of a more imposing
scale to be placed on the ill-fated façade of the Cathedral. All
beautiful within, the churches of Florence are singularly poor in
those rich façades which give such scope to the sculptor and
architect, conferring, as at Pisa, distinction on a whole town. The
churches of the Carmine, Santo Spirito and San Lorenzo are without
façades at all, presenting graceless and unfinished masonry in place
of what was intended by their founders. Elsewhere there are late and
florid façades alien to the spirit of the main building, while it has
been left to our own generation to complete Santa Croce and the
Cathedral. The latter, it is true, once had a façade, which, though
never finished, was ambitiously planned. A large section of it was,
however, erected in Donatello's time, but was removed for no reason
which can be adequately explained, except that on the occasion of a
royal marriage it was thought necessary to destroy what was contrived
in the _maniera tedesca_, substituting a sham painted affair which was
speedily ruined by the elements. The ethics of vandalism are indeed
strange and varied. In this case vanity was responsible. It was
superstition which led the Sienese, after incurring defeat by the
Florentines, to remove from their market-place the famous statue by
Lysippus which brought them ill-luck, and to bury it in Florentine
territory, so that their enemies might suffer instead. Ignorance
nearly induced a Pope to destroy the "Last Judgment" of Michael
Angelo, whose colossal statue of an earlier Pontiff, Julius II., was
broken up through political animosity. One wishes that in this last
case there had been some practical provision such as that inserted by
the House of Lords in the order for destroying the Italian Tombs at
Windsor in 1645, when they ordained that "they that buy the tombs
shall have liberty to transport them beyond the seas, for making the
best advantage of them." The vandalism which dispersed Donatello's
work could not even claim to be utilitarian, like that which so nearly
caused the destruction of the famous chapel by Benozzo Gozzoli in the
Riccardi Palace (for the purposes of a new staircase);[2] neither was
it caused by the exigencies of war, such as the demolition of the
Monastery of San Donato, a treasure-house of early painting, razed to
the ground by the Florentines when awaiting the siege of 1529. The
Cathedral façade was hastily removed, and only a fraction of the
statuary has survived. Two figures are in the Louvre; another has been
recently presented to the Cathedral by the Duca di Sermoneta, himself
a Caetani, of Boniface VIII., a portrait-statue even more remarkable
than that of the same Pope at Bologna. Four more figures from the old
façade, now standing outside the Porta Romana of Florence, are misused
and saddened relics. They used to be the major prophets, but on
translation were crowned with laurels, and now represent Homer,
Virgil, Dante and Petrarch. Other statues are preserved inside the
Cathedral. Before dealing with these it is necessary to point out how
difficult it is to determine the authorship and identity of the
surviving figures. In the first place, our materials for
reconstructing the design of the old façade are few. There were
various pictures, some of which in their turn have perished, where
guidance might have been expected. But the representations of the
Cathedral in frescoes at San Marco, Santa Croce, the Misericordia and
Santa Maria Novella help us but little. Up to the eighteenth century
there used to be a model in the Opera del Duomo: this also has
vanished, and we are compelled to make our deductions from a rather
unsatisfactory drawing made by Bernardo Pocetti in the sixteenth
century. It shows the disposition of statuary so sketchily that we can
only recognise a few of the figures. But we have a perfect idea of the
general style and aim of those who planned the façade, which would
have far surpassed the rival frontispieces of Siena, Pisa and Orvieto.
We are met by a further difficulty in identifying the surviving
statues from the fact that the contracts given to sculptors by the
Chapter do not always specify the personage to be represented.
Moreover, in many cases the statues have no symbol attribute or
legend, which usually guide our interpretation of mediæval art. Thus
Donatello is paid _pro parte solutionis unius figure marmoree_;[3] or
for _figuram marmoream_.[4] Even when an obvious and familiar
explanation could be given, such as Abraham and Isaac, the accounts
record an instalment for the figure of a prophet with a naked boy at
his feet.[5]

[Footnote 2: Cinelli, p. 22.]

[Footnote 3: 23, xii. 1418.]

[Footnote 4: 12, xii. 1408.]

[Footnote 5: 30, v. 1421.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

JOSHUA

CATHEDRAL, FLORENCE]


[Sidenote: The Daniel and Poggio.]

Nine large marble figures for the Cathedral are now accepted as the
work of Donatello. Others may have perished, and it is quite possible
that in one at least of the other statues Donatello may have had a
considerable share. With the exception of St. John the Baptist and St.
John the Evangelist, all these statues are derived from the Old
Testament--Daniel, Jeremiah and Habbakuk, Abraham and the marble David
in the Bargello, together with the two figures popularly called
Poggio and the Zuccone. Among the earliest, and, it must be
acknowledged, the least interesting of these statues is the prophet
standing in a niche in the south aisle close to the great western door
of the Cathedral. It has been long recognised as a Donatello,[6] and
has been called Joshua. But, apart from the fact that he holds the
scroll of a prophet, whereas one would rather expect Joshua to carry a
sword, this statue is so closely related to the little prophets of the
Mandorla door that it is almost certainly coeval with them, and
consequently anterior in date to the period of the Joshua for which
Donatello was paid some years later. We find the same broad flow of
drapery, and the weight of the body is thrown on to one hip in a
pronounced manner, which is certainly ungraceful, though typical of
Donatello's early ideas of balance. It probably represents Daniel. He
has the high forehead, the thick curly hair and the youthful
appearance of the other prophets, while his "countenance appears
fairer and fatter in flesh,"[7] reminding one of Michael Angelo's
treatment of the same theme in the Sistine Chapel.

[Footnote 6: Osservatore Fiorentino, 1797, 3rd ed., iv. 216.]

[Footnote 7: Daniel i. 15.]

Like several of Donatello's statues, this figure is connected with the
name of a Florentine citizen, Giannozzo Manetti, and passes for his
portrait. There is no authority for the tradition, and Vespasiano de'
Bisticci makes no reference to the subject in his life of Manetti. The
statue is, no doubt, a portrait and may well have resembled Manetti,
but in order to have been directly executed as a portrait it could
scarcely have been made before 1426, when Manetti was thirty years
old, by which date the character of Donatello's work had greatly
changed. These traditional names have caused many critical
difficulties, as, when accepted as authentic, the obvious date of the
statue has been arbitrarily altered, so that the statue may harmonise
in point of date of execution with the apparent age of the individual
whom it is supposed to portray. A second example of the confusion
caused by the over-ready acceptance of these nomenclatures is afforded
by the remarkable figure which stands in the north aisle of the
Cathedral, opposite the Daniel. This statue has been called a portrait
of Poggio Bracciolini, the secretary of many Popes. Poggio was born in
1380 and passed some time in Florence during the year 1456. It has,
therefore, been assumed[8] that the statue was made at this time or
shortly afterwards, either as Donatello's tribute of friendship to
Poggio or as an order from the Cathedral authorities in his
commemoration. This theory is wholly untenable. We have no record of
any such work in 1456. The statue does not portray a man seventy-six
years old. Distinguished as Poggio was, his nature did not endear him
greatly to the Florentine churchmen; and, finally, the style of the
sculpture predicates its execution between 1420 and 1430. We can, of
course, admit that Poggio's features may have been recognised in the
statue, and that it soon came to be considered his portrait. In any
case, however, we are dealing with a portrait-statue. The keen and
almost cynical face, with its deep and powerful lines, is certainly no
creation of the fancy, but the study of somebody whom Donatello knew.
It is true there are contradictions in the physiognomy: sarcasm and
benevolence alternate, as the dominating expression of the man's
character. The whole face is marked by the refinement of one from whom
precision and niceness of judgment would be expected. It is not
altogether what Poggio's achievements would lead one to expect;
neither is it of a type which, as has been suggested, would allow us
to call it the missing Joshua. The idea that Job may be the subject is
too ingenious to receive more than a passing reference.[9]

[Footnote 8: Semper, I., p. 132.]

[Footnote 9: Schmarsow, p. 10.]

[Illustration: _Alinari_

POGGIO

CATHEDRAL, FLORENCE]

There is one detail in the statue of Poggio which raises a problem
familiar to students of fifteenth-century art, especially frequent in
paintings of the Madonna, namely, the cryptic lettering to be found on
the borders of garments. In the case of Poggio, the hem of the tunic
just below the throat is incised with deep and clear cyphers which
cannot be read as a name or initials. Many cases could be quoted to
illustrate the practice of giving only the first letters of words
forming a sentence.[10] In this case the script is not Arabic, as on
Verrocchio's David. The lettering on the Poggio, as on Donatello's
tomb of Bishop Pecci at Siena and elsewhere, has not been
satisfactorily explained. Even if painters were in the habit of
putting conventional symbols on their pictures in the form of
inscriptions, it is not likely that this careful and elaborate carving
should be meaningless. The solution may possibly be found in Vettorio
Ghiberti's drawing of a bell, the rim of which is covered with similar
hieroglyphics. The artist has transcribed in plain writing a pleasant
Latin motto which one may presume to be the subject of the
inscription. If this were accurately deciphered a clue might be found
to unravel this obscure problem.[11]

[Footnote 10: The conclusion of Dello's epitaph, as recorded by
Vasari, is H.S.E.S.T.T.L.--_i.e._, _Hic sepultus est, sit tibi terra
levis_. The bas-relief of Faith in the Bargello is signed O.M.C.L.,
_i.e._, _Opus Mattæi Civitali Lucensis_. There is a manuscript of St.
Jerome in the Rylands Library at Manchester in which long texts are
quoted by means of the initial letters alone.]

[Footnote 11: MS. Sketch-Book in Bibl. Naz., Florence, lettered
"Ghiberti," folio 51a.]

[Illustration: _Alinari_

MOCENIGO TOMB

SAN GIOVANNI E PAOLO, VENICE]

Closely analogous to the statue which we must continue to call Poggio
is a striking figure of Justice surmounting the tomb of Tommaso
Mocenigo in the Church of San Giovanni e Paolo at Venice. Mocenigo
died in 1423, and the tomb was made by two indifferent Florentine
artists, whose poor and imitative work must be referred to later on in
connection with the St. George. But the Justice, a vigorous and
original figure, holding a scroll and looking downwards, so absolutely
resembles the Poggio in conception, attitude, and fall of drapery,
that the authorship must be referred to Donatello himself. It is
certainly no copy. One cannot say how this isolated piece of
Donatello's work should have found its way to Venice, although by 1423
Donatello's reputation had secured him commissions for Orvieto and
Ancona and Siena. But it is not necessary to suppose that this Justice
was made to order for the Mocenigo tomb; had it remained in Florence
it would have been long since accepted as a genuine example of the
master.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST

CATHEDRAL, FLORENCE]


[Sidenote: St. John the Evangelist and the marble David.]

The third great statue made for the façade by Donatello is now placed
in a dark apsidal chapel, where the light is so bad that the figure is
often invisible. This is the statue of St. John the Evangelist, and is
much earlier than Poggio, having been ordered on December 12, 1408.
Two evangelists were to be placed on either side of the central door.
Nanni di Banco was to make St. Luke, Niccolo d'Arezzo St. Mark, and
it was intended that the fourth figure should be entrusted to the most
successful of the three sculptors; but in the following year the
Domopera changed their plan, giving the commission for St. Matthew to
Bernardo Ciuffagni, a sculptor somewhat older than Donatello.
Ciuffagni was not unpopular as an artist, for he received plenty of
work in various parts of Italy; but he was a man of mediocre talent,
neither archaic nor progressive, making occasional failures and
exercising little influence for good or ill upon those with whom he
came in contact. He has, however, one valued merit, that of being a
man about whom we have a good deal of documentary information.
Donatello worked on the St. John for nearly seven years, and,
according to custom, was under obligation to complete the work within
a specified time. Penalty clauses used to be enforced in those days.
Jacopo della Quercia ran the danger of imprisonment for neglecting the
commands of Siena. Torrigiano having escaped from England was recalled
by the help of Ricasoli, the Florentine resident in London, and was
fortunate to avoid punishment. Donatello finished his statue in time,
and received his final instalment in 1415, the year in which the
figures were set up beside the great Porch. This evangelist, begun
when Donatello was twenty-two and completed before his thirtieth year,
challenges comparison with one worthy rival, the Moses of Michael
Angelo. The Moses was the outcome of many years of intermittent
labour, and was created by the help of all the advances made by
sculpture during a century of progress. Yet in one respect only can
Michael Angelo claim supremacy. Hitherto Donatello had made nothing
but standing figures. The St. John sits; he is almost inert, and does
not seem to await the divine message. But how superb it is, this
majestic calm and solemnity; how Donatello triumphs over the lack of
giving tension to what is quiescent! The Penseroso also sits and
meditates, but every muscle of the reposing limbs is alert. So, too,
in the Moses, with all its exaggeration and melodrama, with its aspect
of frigid sensationalism, which led Thackeray to say he would not like
to be left alone in the room with it, we find every motionless limb
imbued with vitality and the essentials of movement. The Moses
undoubtedly springs from the St. John, transcending it as Beethoven
surpassed Haydn. In spite of nearly unpardonable faults verging on
decadence, it is the greater though the less pleasing creation of the
two. The St. John surveys the world; the Moses speaks with God.

[Illustration: _Alinari_

MARBLE DAVID

BARGELLO, FLORENCE]

The fourth statue made for the Cathedral proper is contemporary with
the St. John. The marble David, ordered in 1408 and completed in 1416,
was destined for a chapel inside the church. The Town Commissioners,
however, sent a somewhat peremptory letter to the Domopera and the
statue was handed over to them. It was placed in the great hall of the
Palace, was ultimately removed to the Uffizzi, and is now in the
Bargello Museum. The David certainly has a secular look. This ruddy
youth of a fair countenance, crowned with a wreath, stands in an
attitude which is shy and perhaps awkward, and by his feet lies the
head of Goliath with the smooth stone from the brook deeply embedded
in his forehead. The drapery of the tunic is close fitting, moulded
exactly to the lines of his frame, and above it a loose cloak hangs
over the shoulders and falls to the ground with a corner of cloth
looped over one of the wrists in a familiar way.[12] It would be
idle to pretend that the David is a marked success like the St. John.
It neither attains an ideal, as in the St. George, nor is it a
profound interpretation of character like the Habbakuk or Jeremiah.
Its effect is impaired by this sense of compromise and uncertainty. It
is one of the very rare cases in which Donatello hesitated between
divergent aims and finally translated his doubts into marble.

[Footnote 12: _Cf._ Madame André's prophet and figures on Mandorla
door.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Statues of the Campanile.]

We must now refer to a group of statues which adorn the Campanile, the
great Bell tower designed by Giotto for the Cathedral. Not counting
the numerous reliefs, there are sixteen statues in all, four on each
side of the tower, and in themselves they epitomise early Florentine
sculpture. Donatello's statues of Jeremiah, Abraham, and St. John the
Baptist offer no difficulties of nomenclature, but the Zuccone and the
Habbakuk are so called on hypothetical grounds. The Zuccone has been
called by this familiar nickname from time immemorial: bald-head or
pumpkin--such is the meaning of the word, and nobody has hitherto
given a reasoned argument to identify this singular figure with any
particular prophet. As early as 1415 Donatello received payment for
some of this work, and the latest record on the subject is dated 1435.
We may therefore expect to find some variety in idea and considerable
development in technique during these twenty years. Donatello was not
altogether single-handed. It is certain that by the time these
numerous works were being executed he was assisted by scholars, and
the Abraham was actually made in collaboration with Giovanni di
Bartolo, surnamed Il Rosso. It is not easy to discriminate between the
respective shares of the partners. Giovanni was one of those men whose
style varied with the dominating influence of the moment. At Verona he
almost ceased to be Florentine: at Tolentino he was himself; working
for the Campanile he was subject to the power of Donatello. The
Prophet Obadiah, which corresponds in position to the St. John Baptist
of Donatello on the western face of the tower, shows Rosso to have
been a correct and painstaking sculptor, with notions much in advance
of Ciuffagni's; noticeable also for a refinement in the treatment of
hands, in which respect many of his rivals lagged far behind. Judging
from the inscription at Verona, Rosso was appreciated by others--or by
himself:[13] he is, in fact, an artist of merit, rarely falling below
a respectable average in spite of the frequency with which he changed
his style.

[Footnote 13: On the Brenzoni tomb in the Church of San Fermo: "Quem
genuit Russi Florentia Tusca Johañis: istud sculpsit opus ingeniosa
manus."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: St. John the Baptist.]

Rosso does not compare favourably with Donatello. Obadiah is less
attractive than St. John the Baptist, its _pendant_. The test is
admittedly severe, for the St. John is a figure remarkable alike in
conception and for its technical skill. Were it not for the scroll
bearing the "Ecce Agnus Dei," we should not suggest St. John as the
subject. Donatello made many Baptists--boys, striplings and men young
and mature: but in this case only have we something bright and
cheerful. He is no mystic; he differs fundamentally from the gloomy
ascetic and the haggard suffering figures in Siena and Berlin. So far
from being morose in appearance, clad in raiment of camel's hair, fed
upon locusts and wild honey, and summoning the land of Judæa to
repent, we have a vigorous young Tuscan, well dressed and well fed,
standing in an easy and graceful attitude and not without a tinge of
pride in the handsome countenance. In short, the statue is by no means
typical of the Saint. It would more aptly represent some romantic
knight of chivalry, a Victor, a Maurice--even a St. George. It
competes with Donatello's own version of St. George. In all essentials
they are alike, and the actual figures are identical in gesture and
pose, disregarding shield and armour in one case, scroll and drapery
in the other. The two figures are so analogous, that as studies from
the nude they would be almost indistinguishable. They differ in this:
that the Saint on the Campanile is John the Baptist merely because we
are told so, while the figure made for Or San Michele is inevitably
the soldier saint of Christendom. It must not be inferred that the
success of plastic, skill less that of pictorial, art depends upon the
accuracy or vividness with which the presentment "tells its story."
Under such a criterion the most popular work of art would necessarily
bear the palm of supremacy. But there should be some relation between
the statue and the subject-matter. Nobody knew this better than
Donatello: he seldom incurred the criticism directed against Myron the
sculptor--_Animi sensus non expressisse videtur_.[14] The occasional
error, such as that just noticed, or when he gives Goliath the head of
a mild old gentleman,[15] merely throws into greater prominence the
usual harmony between his conception and its embodiment. The task of
making prophets was far from simple. Their various personalities,
little known in our time, were conjectural in his day: neither would
the conventional scroll of the prophet do more than give a generic
indication of the kind of person represented. Donatello, however, made
a series of figures from which the [Greek: êthos] of the prophets
emanates with unequalled force.

[Footnote 14: Pliny, xxxiv. 19, 3.]

[Footnote 15: Bargello David.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

JEREMIAH

CAMPANILE, FLORENCE]


[Sidenote: Jeremiah and the Canon of Art.]

The Jeremiah, for instance, which is in the niche adjacent to the
still more astonishing Zuccone (looking westwards towards the
Baptistery), is a portrait study of consummate power. It is the very
man who wrote the sin of Judah with a pen of iron, the man who was
warned not to be dismayed at the faces of those upon whose folly he
poured the vials of anger and scorn; he is emphatically one of those
who would scourge the vices of his age. And yet this Jeremiah has his
human aspect. The strong jaw and tightly closed lips show a decision
which might turn to obstinacy; but the brow overhangs eyes which are
full of sympathy, bearing an expression of sorrow and gentleness such
as one expects from the man who wept for the miserable estate of
Jerusalem--_Quomodo sedet sola civitas!_

Tradition says that this prophet is a portrait of Francesco Soderini,
the opponent of the Medici; while the Zuccone is supposed to be the
portrait of Barduccio Cherichini, another anti-Medicean partisan.
Probabilities apart, much could be urged against the attributions,
which are really on a par with the similar nomenclatures of Manetti
and Poggio. The important thing is that they are undoubted
portraits, their identity being of secondary interest; the fact that a
portrait was made at all is of far greater moment to the history of
art. Later on, Savonarola (whose only contribution to art was an
unconscious inspiration of the charming woodcuts with which his
sermons and homilies were illustrated) protested warmly against the
prevailing habit of giving Magdalen and the Baptist the features of
living and well-known townsfolk.[16] The practice had, no doubt, led
to scandal. But with Donatello it marks an early stage in emancipation
from the bondage of conventionalism. Not, indeed, that Donatello was
the absolute innovator in this direction, though it is to his efforts
that the change became irresistible. Thus in these portrait-prophets
we find the proof of revolution. The massive and abiding art of Egypt
ignored the personality of its gods and Pharaohs, distinguishing the
various persons by dress, ornament, and attribute. They had their
canon of measurement, of which the length of the nose was probably the
unit.[17] The Greeks, who often took the length of the human foot as
unit, were long enslaved by their canon. Convention made them adhere
to a traditional face after they had made themselves masters of the
human form. The early figures of successful athletes were
conventional; but, according to Pliny, when somebody was winner three
times the statue was actually modelled from his person, and was called
a portrait-figure: "_ex membris ipsorum similitudine expressa, quas
iconicas vocant!_" Not until Lysistratus first thought of reproducing
the human image by means of a cast from the face itself, did they get
the true portrait in place of their previous efforts to secure
generalised beauty.[18] In fact, their canon was so stringent that it
would permit an Apollo Belvedere to be presented by foppish,
well-groomed adolescence, with plenty of vanity but with little
strength, and altogether without the sign-manual of godhead or
victory. Despite shortcomings, Donatello seldom made the mistake of
merging the subject in the artist's model: he did not forget that the
subject of his statue had a biography. He had no such canon. Italian
painting had been under the sway of Margaritone until Giotto destroyed
the traditional system. Early Italian coins show how convention breeds
a canon--they were often depraved survivals of imperial coins, copied
and recopied by successive generations until the original meaning had
completely vanished, while the semblance remained in debased outline.
Nothing can be more fatal than to make a canon of art, to render
precise and exact the laws of æsthetics. Great men, it is true, made
the attempt. Leonardo, for instance, gives the recipe for drawing
anger and despair. His "Trattato della Pintura"[19] describes the
gestures appropriate for an orator addressing a multitude, and he
gives rules for making a tempest or a deluge. He had a scientific law
for putting a battle on to canvas, one condition of which was that
"there must not be a level spot which is not trampled with gore." But
Leonardo da Vinci did no harm; his canon was based on literary rather
than artistic interests, and he was too wise to pay much attention to
his own rules. Another man who tried to systematise art was Leon
Battista Alberti, who gave the exact measurements of ideal beauty,
length and circumference of limbs, &c., thus approaching a physical
canon. The absurdity of these theories is well shown in the "Rules of
Drawing Caricatures," illustrated by "mathematical diagrams."[20]
Development and animation are impossible wherever an art is governed
by this sterile and deadening code of law. The religious art of the
Eastern Church has been stationary for centuries, confined within the
narrow limits of hieratic conventions. Mount Athos has the pathetic
interest of showing the dark ages surviving down to our own day in the
vigour of unabated decadence. Though not subjected to any serious
canon, the predecessors of Donatello seemed at one time in danger of
becoming conventionalised. But Donatello would not permit his art to
be divorced from appeals to reason and intellect; once started, his
theory held its own. Donatello was bound by no laws; with all its
cadence and complexity his art was unsuited to a canon as would be the
art of music. He seems almost to have disregarded the ordinary
physical limitations under which he worked. He had no "cant of
material," and whether in stone, bronze, wood, or clay, he went
straight ahead in the most unconcerned manner.

[Footnote 16: In 1496. See Gruyer, "Les Illustrations," 1879, p. 206.]

[Footnote 17: C. Müller, "Ancient Art and its Remains," p. 227.]

[Footnote 18: Pliny, xxxvi. 44.]

[Footnote 19: Printed in Richter's "Literary Works of Leonardo da
Vinci," vol. i.]

[Footnote 20: By Francis Grose, the Antiquary. London, 1788.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

HABAKKUK

CAMPANILE, FLORENCE]


[Sidenote: Habbakuk and the Sense of Distance.]

We do not know much about Habbakuk. He left two or three pages of
passionate complaint against the iniquity of the land, but his
"burden" lacks those outbursts of lyric poetry which are found in most
of the other minor prophets. Donatello gives him the air of a thinker.
He holds a long scroll to which he points with his right hand while
looking downward, towards the door of the Cathedral. It is a strong
head, as full of character as the Jeremiah. But Habbakuk is less the
man of action, and the deep lines about the mouth and across the
forehead show rather the fruits of contemplation. There may be a note
of scepticism in the face. But this Habbakuk is no ascetic, and there
is much strength in reserve: his comment though acrid would be just.
The veins in the throat stand out like cords. They are much more
noticeable in the photograph than when one sees the statue from the
Piazza. It must be remembered that these figures on the Campanile are
something like fifty-five feet from the ground: they were made for
these lofty positions, and were carved accordingly. They show
Donatello's sense of distance; the Zuccone shows his sense of light
and shade, the Abraham his sense of proportion. Donatello had the
advantage of making these figures for particular places; his sculpture
was eminently adapted to the conditions under which it was to be seen.
In the vast majority of cases modern sculpture is made for
undetermined positions, and is fortunate if it obtains a suitable
_emplacement_. It seldom gets distance, light and proportion in
harmony with the technical character of the carving. Donatello paid
the greatest care to the relation between the location of the statue
and its carving: his work consequently suffers enormously by removal:
to change its position is to take away something given it by the
master himself. The Judith looks mean beneath the Loggia de' Lanzi;
the original of the St. George in the museum is less telling than the
copy which has replaced it at Or San Michele. Photography is also apt
to show too clearly certain exaggerations and violences deliberately
calculated by Donatello to compensate for distance, as on the
Campanile, or for darkness, as on the Cantoria. The reproductions,
therefore, of those works not intended to be seen from close by
must be judged with this reservation. The classical sculptors seem to
have been oblivious of this sense of distance. Cases have been quoted
to show that they did realise it, such as the protruding forehead of
Zeus or the deep-set eyes of the Vatican Medusa. These are accidents,
or at best coincidences, for the sense of distance is not shown by
merely giving prominence to one portion or feature of a face. In Roman
art the band of relief on the Column of Trajan certainly gets slightly
broader as the height increases: but the modification was
half-hearted. It does not help one to see the carving, which at the
summit is almost meaningless, while it only serves to diminish the
apparent height of the column. So, too, in the triumphal arches of the
Roman Emperors little attention was paid to the relative and varying
attitudes of the bas-reliefs. From Greek art the Parthenon Frieze
gives a singular example of this unrealised law. When _in situ_ the
frieze was only visible at a most acute angle and in a most
unfavourable light: beyond the steps it vanished altogether, so one
was obliged to stand among the columns to see it at all, and it was
also necessary to look upwards almost perpendicularly. The frieze is
nearly three feet four inches high and its upper part is carved in
rather deeper relief than the base: but, even so, the extraordinary
delicacy of this unique carving was utterly wasted, since the
technical treatment of the marble was wholly unsuited to its
_emplacement_. The amazing beauty of the sculpture and the unsurpassed
skill of Phidias were never fully revealed until its home had been
changed from Athens to Bloomsbury.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

THE ZUCCONE

CAMPANILE, FLORENCE]


[Sidenote: The Zuccone, "Realism" and Nature.]

The Zuccone is one of the eternal mysteries of Italian art. What can
have been Donatello's intention? Why give such prominence to this
graceless type? Baldinucci called it St. Mark.[21] Others have been
misled by the lettering on the plinth below the statue "David Rex":
beneath the Jeremiah is "Salomon Rex."[22] These inscriptions
belonged, of course, to the kings which made way for Donatello's
prophets. The Zuccone must belong to the series of prophets; it is
fruitless to speculate which. Cherichini may have inspired the
portrait. Its ugliness is insuperable. It is not the vulgar ugliness
of a caricature, nor is it the audacious embodiment of some hideous
misshapen creature such as we find in Velasquez, in the Gobbo of
Verona, or in the gargoyles of Notre Dame. There is no deformity about
it, probably very little exaggeration. It is sheer uncompromising
ugliness; rendered by the cavernous mouth, the blear eyes, the flaccid
complexion, the unrelieved cranium--all carried to a logical
conclusion in the sloping shoulders and the simian arms. But the
Zuccone is not "revenged of nature": there is nothing to "induce
contempt." On the other hand, indeed, there is a tinge of sadness and
compassion, objective and subjective, which gives it a charm, even a
fascination. _Tanto è bella_, says Bocchi, _tanto è vera, tanto è
naturale_, that one gazes upon it in astonishment, wondering in truth
why the statue does not speak![23] Bocchi's criticism cannot be
improved. The problem has been obfuscated by the modern jargon of art.
Donatello has been charged with orgies of realism and so forth. There
may be realism, but the term must be used with discretion: nowadays
it generally connotes the ugly treatment of an ugly theme, and is
applied less as a technical description than as a term of abuse.
Donatello was certainly no realist in the sense that an ideal was
excluded, nor could he have been led by realism into servile imitation
or the multiplication of realities. After a certain point the true
ceases to be true, as nobody knew better than Barye, the greatest of
the "realists." The Zuccone can be more fittingly described in
Bocchi's words. It is the creation of a verist, of a naturalist,
founded on a clear and intimate perception of nature. Donatello was
pledged to no system, and his only canon, if such existed, was the
canon of observation matured by technical ability. We have no reason
to suppose that Donatello claimed to be a deep thinker. He did not
spend his time, like Michael Angelo, in devising theories to explain
the realms of art. He was without analytical pedantry, and, like his
character, his work was naïve and direct. Nor was he absorbed by
appreciation of "beauty," abstract or concrete. If he saw a man with a
humped back or a short leg he would have been prepared to make his
portrait, assuming that the entity was not in conflict with the
subject in hand. Hence the Zuccone. Its mesmeric ugliness is the
effect of Donatello's gothic creed, and it well shows how Donatello,
who from his earliest period was opposed to the conventions of the
Pisan school, took the lead among those who founded their art upon the
observation of nature. A later critic, shrewd and now much neglected,
said that Titian "contented himself with pure necessity, which is the
simple imitation of nature."[24] One could not say quite so much of
Donatello, in whom, curiously enough, the love of nature was limited
to its human aspect. He seems to have been impervious to outdoor
nature, to the world of plants and birds and beasts. Ghiberti, his
contemporary, was a profound student of natural life in all its forms,
and the famous bronze doors of the Baptistery are peopled with the
most fanciful products of his observation. "I strove to imitate nature
to the utmost degree," he says in his commentary.[25] Thus Ghiberti
makes a bunch of grapes, and wanting a second bunch as _pendant_, he
takes care to make it of a different species. The variety and richness
of his fruit and flower decoration are extraordinary and, if possible,
even more praiseworthy than the dainty garlands of the Della Robbia.
With Donatello all is different. He took no pleasure in enriching his
sculpture in this way. The Angel of the Annunciation carries no lily;
when in the Tabernacle of St. Peter's he had to decorate a pilaster he
made lilies, but stiff and unreal. His trees in the landscape
backgrounds of the Charge to Peter and the Release of Princess Sabra
by St. George are tentative and ill-drawn. The children of the
Cantoria, the great singing gallery made for the Cathedral, are
dancing upon a ground strewn with flowers and fruit. The idea was
charming, but in executing it Donatello could only make _cut_ flowers
and withered fruit. There is no life in them, no savour, and the
energy of the children seems to have exhausted the humbler form of
vitality beneath their feet. Years afterwards, when Donatello's
assistants were allowed a good deal of latitude, we find an effort to
make more use of this invaluable decoration: the pulpits of San
Lorenzo, for instance, have some trees and climbing weeds showing keen
study of nature. But Donatello himself always preferred the
architectural background, in contrast to Leonardo da Vinci, who, with
all his love of building, seldom if ever used one in the backgrounds
of his pictures: but then Leonardo was the most advanced botanist of
his age.

[Footnote 21: Edition 1768, p. 74.]

[Footnote 22: _E.g._, Milanesi, Catalogo, 1887, p. 6.]

[Footnote 23: Cinelli's edition, 1677, p. 45.]

[Footnote 24: Raffaelle Mengs, Collected Works. London, 1796, I., p.
132.]

[Footnote 25: Printed in Vasari, Lemonnier Ed., 1846, vol. i.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: The Zuccone and the Sense of Light and Shade.]

Speaking of the employment of light and shade as instruments in art,
Cicero says: "_Multa vident pictores in umbris et in eminentia, quæ
nos non videmus_." One may apply the dictum to the Zuccone where
Donatello has carved the head with a rugged boldness, leaving the play
of light and shade to complete the portrait. Davanzati was explicit on
the matter,[26] showing that the point of view from which the Zuccone
was visible made this coarse treatment imperative, if the spectator
below was to see something forcible and impressive. "The eyes," he
says, "are made as if they were dug out with a shovel: eyes which
would appear lifelike on the ground level would look blind high up on
the Campanile, for distance consumes diligence--_la lontananza si
mangia la diligenzia_." The doctrine could not be better stated, and
it governs the career of Donatello. There is nothing like the Zuccone
in Greek art: nothing so ugly, nothing so wise. Classical sculptors in
statues destined for lofty situations preserved the absolute truth of
form, but their diligence was consumed by distance. What was true in
the studio lost its truth on a lofty pediment or frieze. They
preserved accuracy of form, but they sacrificed accuracy of
appearance; whereas relative truth was in reality far more
important--until, indeed, the time comes when the lights and shades of
the studio are reproduced in some art gallery or museum.

[Footnote 26: In Introduction to his translation of Tacitus.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

ABRAHAM AND ISAAC

CAMPANILE, FLORENCE]


[Sidenote: Abraham and the Sense of Proportion.]

The statue of Abraham and Isaac on the east side of the Campanile is
interesting as being the first group made by Donatello. The subject
had already been treated by Brunellesco and Ghiberti in relief.
Donatello had to make his figures on a larger scale. Abraham is a
tall, powerful man with a long flowing beard, looking upwards as he
receives the command to sheath the dagger already touching the
shoulder of his son. The naked boy is kneeling on his left leg and is
modelled with a good deal of skill, though, broadly speaking, the
treatment is rather archaic in character. It is a tragic scene, in
which the contrast of the inexorable father and the resigned son is
admirably felt. Donatello had to surmount a technical difficulty, that
of putting two figures into a niche only intended for one. His sense
of proportion enabled him to make a group in harmony with its position
and environment. It _fits_ the niche. Statues are so often unsuited to
their niches; scores of examples could be quoted from Milan Cathedral
alone where the figures are too big or too small, or where the base
slopes downwards and thus fails to give adequate support to the
figure. There is an old tradition which illustrates Donatello's
aptitude for grouping. Nanni di Banco had to put four martyrs into a
niche of Or San Michele, and having made his statues found it
impossible to get them in. Donatello was invoked, and by removing a
superfluous bit of marble here, and knocking off an arm there, the
four figures were successfully grouped together. The statues, it must
be admitted, show no signs of such usage, and Nanni was a competent
person: but the story would not have been invented unless Donatello
had been credited in his own day with the reputation of being a
master of proportion and grouping. Donatello, however, never really
excelled in the free standing group. His idea was a suite or series of
figures against a background, a bas-relief. The essential quality of a
group is that there should be something to unite the figures. We find
this in the Abraham, but the four martyrs by Nanni di Banco are
standing close together as if by chance, and cannot properly be called
a group in anything but juxtaposition of figures. Il Rosso helped to
make Abraham. The commission was given jointly to the two sculptors in
March 1421, and the statue was finished, with unusual expedition, by
November of the same year. The hand of Rosso cannot be easily detected
except in the drapery, which differs a good deal from Donatello's. The
latter must have been chiefly responsible for the grouping and wholly
so for the fine head of Abraham.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Drapery and Hands.]

Rosso's drapery was apt to be treated in rather a small way with a
number of little folds. Donatello, on the other hand, often tended to
the opposite extreme, and in the Campanile figures we see the clothes
hanging about the prophets in such ample lines that the Zuccone and
Jeremiah are overweighted with togas which look like heavy blankets.
Habbakuk and the Baptist are much more skilfully draped, deference
being shown to the anatomy. "To make drapery merely natural," said Sir
Joshua Reynolds, "is a mechanical operation to which neither genius
nor taste are required: whereas it requires the nicest judgment to
dispose the drapery so that the folds have an easy communication, and
gracefully follow each other with such natural negligence as to look
like the effect of chance, and at the same time show the figure under
it to the utmost advantage."[27] The sculptors of the fifteenth
century did not find it so easy to make drapery look purely natural,
and we are often confronted by cases where they failed in this
respect. It arose partly from a belief that drapery was nothing more
than an accessory, partly also from their ignorance of what was so
fully realised by the Greeks, that there can be very little grace in a
draped figure unless there are the elements of beauty below. Another
comment suggested by Donatello's early work in marble is that he was
not quite certain how to model or dispose the hands. They are often
unduly big; Michael Angelo started with the same mistake: witness his
David and the Madonna on the Stairs. It was a mistake soon rectified
in either case. But till late in life Donatello never quite succeeded
in giving nerve or occupation to his hands. St. Mark, St. Peter, and
St. John all have a book in their left hands, but none of them _hold_
the book; it has no weight, the hand shows no grip and has no sense of
possession. Neither did Donatello always know where to put the hands,
giving them the shy and self-conscious positions affected by the
schoolboy. The Bargello David is a case in point. His hands are idle,
they have really nothing to do, and their position is arbitrary in
consequence. It is all a descent from the Gothic, where we find much
that is inharmonious and paradoxical, and a frequent lack of concord
between the component parts. St. George, standing erect in his niche,
holds the shield in front of him, its point resting on the ground.
But, notwithstanding the great progress made by Donatello in
modelling these hands--(so much indeed that one might almost suspect
the bigger hands of contemporary statues to be faithful portraits of
bigger hands)--one feels that the shield does not owe its upright
position to the constraint of the hands. They do not reflect the
outward pressure of the heavy shield, which could almost be removed
without making it necessary to modify their functions or position. It
was reserved for Michael Angelo to achieve the unity of purpose and
knowledge needed in portraying the human hand. He was the first among
Italian sculptors to render the relation of the hand to the wrist, the
wrist to the forearm, and thence to the shoulder and body. In the
fifteenth century nobody fully understood the sequence of muscles
which correlates every particle of the limb, and Donatello could not
avoid the halting and inconclusive outcome of his inexperience.

[Footnote 27: Discourses, 1778, p. 116.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Minor Works for the Cathedral.]

There remain a few minor works for the Cathedral which require notice.
In October 1421 an unfinished figure by Ciuffagni was handed over to
Donatello and Il Rosso. It is probable that Dr. Semper is correct in
thinking that this may be the statue on the East side of the Cathedral
hitherto ascribed to Niccolo d'Arezzo, though it can hardly be the
missing Joshua. We have here a middle-aged man with a long beard, his
head inclined forward and supported by his upraised hand with its
forefinger extended. Donatello was fond of youth, but not less of
middle age. With all their power these prophets are middle-aged men
who would walk slowly and whose gesture would be fraught with mature
dignity. Donatello did not limit to the very young or the very old the
privilege of seeing visions and dreaming dreams. Two other statues by
Donatello have perished. These are Colossi,[28] ordered probably
between 1420 and 1425, and made of brick covered with stucco or some
other kind of plaster. They stood outside the church, on the buttress
pillars between the apsidal chapels. One of them was on the north
side, as an early description mentions the "_Gigante sopra la
Annuntiata_,"[29] that is above the Annunciation on the Mandorla door.
The perishable material of these statues was selected, no doubt, owing
to the difficulty and expense of securing huge monoliths of marble. In
this case one must regret their loss, as the distance from which they
would be seen would amply justify their heroic dimensions. But the
idea of Colossi, which originated in Egypt and the East, is to
astonish, and to make the impression through the agency of bulk. The
David by Michael Angelo is great in spite of its unwieldiness. Michael
Angelo himself was under no illusions about these Colossi. His letter
criticising the proposal to erect a colossal statue of the Pope on the
Piazza of San Lorenzo is in itself a delightful piece of humour, and
ridiculed the conceit with such pungency that the project was
abandoned. Finally, Donatello made two busts of prophets for the
Mandorla door. The commission is previous to May 1422, when it is
noted that Donatello was to receive six golden florins for his work.
They are profile heads carved in relief upon triangular pieces of
marble, which fill two congested architectural corners. They look like
the result of a whim, and at first sight one would think they were
ordered late in the history of the door to supplement or replace
something unsatisfactory. But this is not the case. Half corbel and
half decoration, they are curious things: one shows a young man, the
other an older bearded man. Both have long hair drawn back by a
fillet, and in each case one hand is placed across the breast. They
have quite a classical look, and are the least interesting as well as
the least noticeable of the numerous sculptures made for the Cathedral
by Donatello. The Domopera evidently appreciated his talent. To this
day, besides these busts and the two small prophets, there survive at
least nine marble figures made for the Duomo, some of them well over
life size. There were also the Colossi, and it will be seen later on
that the Domopera gave him further commissions for bronze doors,
Cantoria, altar and stained glass; he also was employed as an
architectural expert. Years of Donatello's life were spent on the
embellishment of Santa Maria del Fiore, a gigantic task which he
shared with his greatest predecessors and his most able
contemporaries. The task, indeed, was never fully accomplished. The
Campanile is not crowned by the spire destined for it by Giotto: the
façade has perished and the interior is marred by the errors of
subsequent generations. But the Cathedral of Florence must
nevertheless take high rank among the most stately churches of
Christendom.

[Footnote 28: They were standing as late as 1768. Baldinucci, p. 79.]

[Footnote 29: Memoriale, 1510.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

ST. MARK

OR SAN MICHELE]


[Sidenote: Or San Michele, St. Peter and St. Mark.]

From the earliest times there used to be a church dedicated to St.
Michael, which stood within the _orto_, the garden named after the
saint. The church was, however, removed in the thirteenth century and
was replaced by an open _loggia_, which was used for a corn market and
store. In the following century the open arches of the _loggia_ were
built up, again making a church of the building, in which a venerated
Madonna, for which Orcagna made the tabernacle, was preserved. The
companies and merchant guilds of Florence undertook to present statues
to decorate the external niches of the building. Besides Donatello,
Ghiberti, Verrocchio, Gian Bologna and Nanni di Banco were employed;
and there are also some admirable medallions by Luca della Robbia.
Donatello made four statues--St. Peter, St. Mark, St. Louis and St.
George. He was to have made St. Phillip as well, but the shoemakers
who ordered the statue could not afford to pay Donatello's price and
the work was entrusted to Nanni di Banco. Two only of Donatello's
statues are left at Or San Michele, the St. Louis being now in Santa
Croce, while the St. George has been placed in the Bargello. All these
statues were put into niches of which the base is not more than eight
feet from the ground, and being intended to be seen at a short
distance are carved with greater attention to detail and finish than
is the case with the prophets on the Campanile. St. Peter is probably
the earliest in date, having been made, judging from stylistic
grounds, between 1407 and 1412. This statue shows a doubt and
hesitation which did not affect Donatello when making the little
prophets for the Mandorla door. The head is commonplace and
inexpressive; the pose is dull, and the drapery with its crimped edges
ignores the right leg. There is, however, nothing blameworthy in the
statue, but, on the other hand, there is nothing showing promise or
deserving praise. Had it been made by one of the _macchinisti_ of the
time it would have lived in decent obscurity without provoking
comment. In fact the statue does not owe its appearance in critical
discussions to its own merits, but to the later achievement of the
sculptor. Thus only can one explain Bocchi's opinion that "living man
could not display truer deportment than we find in the St. Peter."[30]
One of the figures from the Cathedral façade now in the Louvre, an
apostle or doctor of the Church, shows whence Donatello derived his
prosy idea, though the St. Peter is treated in a less archaic manner.
The St. Mark is much more successful: there is conviction as well as
vigour and greater skill. Michael Angelo exclaimed that nobody could
disbelieve the Gospel when preached by a saint whose countenance is
honesty itself. The very drapery--_il prudente costume e
religioso_--[31] was held to contribute to Michael Angelo's praise.
The grave and kindly face, devout and holy,[32] together with a
certain homeliness of attitude, give the St. Mark a character which
would endear him to all. He would not inspire awe like the St. John or
indifference like St. Peter. He is a very simple, lovable person whose
rebuke would be gentle and whose counsel would be wise. In 1408 the
_Linaiuoli_, the guild of linen-weavers, gave their order to select
the marble, and in 1411 the commission was given to Donatello, having
been previously given to Niccolo d'Arezzo, who himself became one of
Donatello's guarantors. The work had to be finished within eighteen
months, and the heavy statue was to be placed in the niche at the
sculptor's own risk. The statement made by Vasari that Brunellesco
co-operated on the St. Mark is not borne out by the official
documents. It is interesting to note that the guild gave Donatello the
height of the figure, leaving him to select the corresponding
proportions. The statue was to be gilded and decorated.[33] A further
commission was given to two stone-masons for the niche, which was to
be copied from that of Ghiberti's St. Stephen. These niches have been
a good deal altered in recent times, and the statues are in
consequence less suited to their environment than was formerly the
case. Judging from the plates in Lasinio's book, the accuracy of which
has not been contested, it appears that the niches of St. Eligius and
St. Mark have been made more shallow, while the crozier of the former
and the key in St. Peter's hand are not shown at all, and must be
modern restorations.

[Footnote 30: Cinelli ed., p. 66.]

[Footnote 31: Bocchi, 1765 ed., p. 128.]

[Footnote 32: _Spira il volto divozione e Santità_, Cinelli, p. 66.]

[Footnote 33: Gualandi, "Memorie," Series 4, p. 106.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: St. Louis.]

The St. Louis is made of bronze. The reputation of this admirable
figure has been prejudiced by a ridiculous bit of gossip seriously
recorded by Vasari, to the effect that, having been reproached for
making a clumsy figure, Donatello replied that he had done so with set
purpose to mark the folly of the man who exchanged the crown for a
friar's habit. Vasari had to enliven his biographies by anecdotes, and
their authenticity was not always without reproach. In view of his
immense services to the history of art one will gladly forgive these
pleasantries; but it is deplorable when they are solemnly quoted as
infallible. One author says: "... _impossibile a guardare quel goffo e
disgraziato San Lodovico senza sentire una stretta al cuore_." This is
preposterous. The statue has faults, but they do not spring from
organic error. The Bishop is overweighted with his thick vestments,
and his mitre is rather too broad for the head; the left hand,
moreover, is big and Donatellesque. But the statue, now placed high
above the great door of Santa Croce, is seen under most unfavourable
conditions, and would look infinitely better in the low niche of Or
San Michele. Its proportions would then appear less stumpy, and we
would then be captivated by the beauty of the face. It has real
"beauty"; the hackneyed and misused term can only be properly applied
to Donatello's work in very rare cases, of which this is one. The face
itself is taken from some model, which could be idealised to suit a
definite conception, and in which the pure and symmetrical lines are
harmonised with admirable feeling. Every feature is made to
correspond, interrelated by some secret necessary to the art of
portraiture. The broad brow and the calm eyes looking upwards are in
relation with the delicately chiselled nose and mouth, while the right
hand, which is outstretched in giving the blessing, is rendered with
infinite sentiment and grace. St. Louis, in short, deserves high
commendation, as, in spite of errors, it achieves something to which
Donatello seldom aspired; and it has the further interest of being his
earliest figure in bronze, a material in which some of his most
renowned works were executed. The whole question of Donatello's share
in the actual casting will be considered at a later stage. It will be
enough to say at this point that the St. Louis, which was probably
finished about 1425, was cast with the assistance of Michelozzo.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

ST. GEORGE

IN NICHE ON OR SAN MICHELE]


[Sidenote: St. George.]

The St. George is the most famous of Donatello's statues, and is
generally called his masterpiece. The marble original has now been
taken into the Museum, and a bronze cast replaces it at Or San
Michele. The cause of this transfer is understood to be a fear that
the statue would be ruined by exposure, although one would think that
this would apply still more to the exquisite relief, which remains _in
situ_, though unprotected by the niche. In the side-lighted Bargello,
the St. George is crowded into a shallow niche (with plenty of highly
correct detail) and is seen to the utmost disadvantage; but no
incongruity of surroundings, no false relations of light can destroy
the profound impression left by this statue, which was probably
completed about 1416, in Donatello's thirtieth year. Vasari was
enthusiastic in its praise. Bocchi wrote a whole book about it,[34] in
which we might expect to find valuable information; but the interest
of this ecstatic eulogy is limited. Bocchi gives no dates, facts or
authorities; nothing to which modern students can turn for accurate or
specific knowledge of Donatello. Cinelli says the St. George was held
equal to the rarest sculpture of Rome,[35] and well it might be. The
St. George was made for the Guild of Armourers; he is, of course,
wearing armour, and the armour fits him, clothes him. It is not the
clumsy inelastic stuff which must have prevented so many soldiers from
moving a limb or mounting a horse. In this case the lithe and muscular
frame is free and full of movement, quite unimpeded by the defensive
plates of steel. He stands upright, his legs rather apart, and the
shield in front of him, otherwise he is quite unarmed; the St. George
in the niche is alert and watchful: in the bas-relief he manfully
slays the dragon. The head is bare and the throat uncovered; the face
is full of confidence and the pride of generous strength, but with no
vanity or self-consciousness. Fearless simplicity is his chief
attribute, though in itself simplicity is no title to greatness: with
Donatello, Sophocles and Dante would be excluded from any category of
greatness based on simplicity alone. St. George has that earnest and
outspoken simplicity with which the mediæval world invested its
heroes; he springs from the chivalry of the early days of Christian
martyrdom, the greatest period of Christian faith. Greek art had no
crusader or knight-errant, and had to be content with Harmodius and
Aristogeiton. Even the Perseus legend, which in so many ways reminds
one of St. George, was far less appreciated as an incident by
classical art than by the Renaissance; and even then not until patron
and artist were growing tired of St. George. M. Reymond has pointed
out the relation of Donatello's statue to its superb analogue, St.
Theodore of Chartres Cathedral. "_C'est le souvenir de tout un monde
qui disparaît._"[36] Physically it may be so. The age of chivalry may
be passed in so far that the prancing steed and captive Princess
belong to remote times which may never recur. But St. George and St.
Theodore were not merely born of legend and fairy tale; their spirit
may survive in conditions which, although less romantic and
picturesque, may still preserve intact the essential qualities of the
soldier-saint of primitive times. The influence of the St. George upon
contemporary art seems to have been small. The Mocenigo tomb, which
has already been mentioned, has a figure on the sarcophagus obviously
copied from the St. George; and elsewhere in this extremely curious
example of plagiarism we find other figures suggested by Donatello's
statues. The little figure in the Palazzo Pubblico at Pistoja is
again an early bit of piracy. In the courtyard of the Palazzo
Quaratesi in Florence, built by Brunellesco between 1425 and 1430, an
early version of the head of St. George was placed in one of the
circular panels above the pillars. It is without intrinsic importance,
being probably a cast, but it shows how early the statue was
appreciated. A more important cast is that of the bas-relief now in
London, which has a special interest from having been taken before the
original had suffered two or three rather grievous blows.[37]
Verrocchio made a drawing of the St. George,[38] and Mantegna
introduced a similar figure into his picture of St. James being led to
execution.[39] But Donatello's influence cannot be measured by the
effect of St. George. In this particular case his work did not
challenge competition; its perfection was too consummate to be of
service except to the copyist. In some ways it spoke the last word;
closed an episode in the history of art--[Greek: eschatos tou idiou
genous].

[Footnote 34: "Eccelenza della Statua del San Giorgio di Donatello,"
1571.]

[Footnote 35: Bellezze, 1677, p. 67.]

[Footnote 36: "La Sculpture Florentine," vol. ii. p. 91.]

[Footnote 37: Victoria and Albert Museum, 7607, 1861.]

[Footnote 38: Uffizzi, frame 49.]

[Footnote 39: Eremitani, Padua, about 1448-50.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

ST. GEORGE

BARGELLO]


[Sidenote: Donatello and Gothic Art.]

The relation of St. George and other Italian works of this period,
both in sculpture and painting, to the Gothic art of France cannot be
ignored, although no adequate explanation has yet been given. St.
George, the Baptists of the Campanile and in Rome, and the marble
David are intensely Franco-Gothic, and precisely what one would expect
to find in France. The technical and physical resemblance between the
two schools may, of course, be a coincidence; it may be purely
superficial. But St. Theodore might well take his place outside Or
San Michele, while the St. George (in spite of the difference in date)
would be in complete ethical harmony with the statues on the portals
of Chartres. Even if they cannot be analysed, the phenomena must be
stated. Donatello may have spontaneously returned to the principles
which underlay the creation of the great statuary of France, the
country of all others where a tremendous school had flourished. But
what these fundamental principles were it is impossible to determine.
It is true there had always been agencies at work which must have
familiarised Italy with French thought and ideas. From the time of the
dominant French influence in Sicily down to the Papal exile in
France--which ended actually while Donatello was working on these
statues, one portion or another of the two countries had been
frequently brought into contact. The Cistercians, for instance, had
been among the most persistent propagators of Gothic architecture in
Italy, though nearly all their churches (of which the ground-plans are
sometimes identical with those of French buildings) are situated in
remote country districts of Italy, and being inaccessible are little
known or studied nowadays. France, however, was herself full of
Italian teachers and churchmen, who may have brought back Northern
ideas of art, for they certainly left small traces of their influence
on the French until later on; their presence, at any rate, records
intercourse between the two countries. A concrete example of the
relation between the two national arts is afforded by the fact that
Michelozzo was the son of a Burgundian who settled in Florence.
Michelozzo was some years younger than Donatello, and it is therefore
quite out of the question to assume that the St. George could have
been due to his influence: he was too young to give Donatello more
than technical assistance. In this connection one must remember that
French Gothic, though manifested in its architecture, was of deeper
application, and did not confine its spirit to the statuary made for
the tall elongated lines of its cathedrals. What we call Gothic
pervaded everything, and was not solely based on physical forms.
Indeed, whatever may be the debt of Italian sculpture to French
influence, the Gothic architecture of Italy excluded some of the chief
principles of the French builders. It was much more liberal and more
fond of light and air. Speaking of the exaggerated type of Gothic
architecture, in which everything is heightened and thinned, Renan
asks what would have happened to Giotto if he had been told to paint
his frescoes in churches from which flat spaces had entirely
disappeared. "Once we have exhausted the grand idea of infinity which
springs from its unity, we realise the shortcomings of this egoistic
and jealous architecture, which only exists for itself and its own
ends, _régnant dans le désert_."[40] The churches of Umbria and
Tuscany were as frames in which space was provided for all the arts;
where fresco and sculpture could be welcomed with ample scope for
their free and unencumbered display. Donatello was never hampered or
crowded by the architecture of Florence; he was never obliged, like
his predecessors in Picardy and Champagne, to accommodate the gesture
and attitude of his statue to stereotyped positions dictated by the
architect. His opportunity was proportionately greater, and it only
serves to enhance our admiration for the French sculptors. In spite of
difficulties not of their own making, they were able to create, with a
coarser material and in a less favourable climate, what was perhaps
the highest achievement ever attained by monumental sculpture. The
Italians soon came to distrust Gothic architecture. It was never quite
indigenous, and they were afraid of this "German" transalpine art.
Vasari attacks "_Questa maledizione di fabbriche_," with their
"_tabernacolini l'un sopra l'altro, ... che hanno ammorbato il
mondo_."[41] One would expect the denunciation of Milizia to be still
more severe. But he admits that "_fra tante monstruosità
l'architettura gottica ha alcune bellezze_."[42] Elsewhere mentioning
the architect of the Florentine Cathedral (while regretting how long
the _corrotto gusto_ survived), he says, "_In questo architetto si
vede qualche barlume di buona architettura, come di pittura in Cimabue
suo contemporaneo_."[43] He detects some glimmer of good architecture.
Sir Joshua Reynolds was cautious: "Under the rudeness of Gothic
essays, the artist will find original, rational, and even sublime
inventions."[44] It should be remembered that the word _Tedesca_, as
applied to Gothic art, meant more than German, and could be almost
translated by Northern. Italians from the lakes and the Valtellina
were called _Tedeschi_, and Italy herself was inhabited by different
peoples who were constantly at war, and who did not always understand
each other's dialects. Dante said the number of variations was
countless.[45] Alberti, who lived north of the Apennines during his
boyhood, took lessons in Tuscan before returning to Florence. The word
_Forestiere_, now meaning foreigner, was applied in those days to
people living outside the province, sometimes even to those living
outside the town. Thus we have a record of the cost of making a
provisional altar to display Donatello's work at Padua--"_per
demonstrar el desegno ai forestieri_."[46] No final definition of
Gothic art, of the _maniera tedesca_ is possible. Some of its
component parts have been enumerated: rigidity, grotesque, naturalism,
and so forth; but the definition is incomplete, cataloguing the
effects without analysing their cause. Whether Donatello was
influenced by the ultimate cause or not, he certainly assimilated some
of the effects. The most obvious example of the Gothic feeling which
permeated this child of the Renaissance, is his naturalistic
portrait-statues. Donatello found the form, some passing face or
figure in the street, and rapidly impressed it with his ideal.
Raffaelle found his ideal, and waited for the bodily form wherewith to
clothe it. "In the absence of good judges and handsome women"--that is
to say, models, he paused, as he said in one of his letters to
Castiglione. One feels instinctively that with his Gothic bias
Donatello would not have minded. He did not ask for applause, and at
the period of St. George classical ideas had not introduced the
professional artist's model. Life was still adequate, and the only
model was the subject in hand. The increasing discovery of classical
statuary and learning made the later sculptors distrust their own
interpretation of the bodily form, which varied from the primitive
examples. Thus they lost conviction, believing the ideal of the
classicals to surpass the real of their own day. The result was
Bandinelli and Montorsoli, whose world was inhabited by pompous
fictions. They neither attained the high character of the great
classical artists nor the single-minded purpose of Donatello. Their
ideal was based on the unrealities of the Baroque.

[Footnote 40: "Mélanges d'Histoire," p. 248.]

[Footnote 41: Introduction, i. 122.]

[Footnote 42: "Vita de' Architetti," 53.]

[Footnote 43: _Ibid._ 151.]

[Footnote 44: "Discourses," 1778, p. 237.]

[Footnote 45: "Qua propter si primas et secundarias et subsecundarias
vulgaris Ytalie variationes calculare velimus, in hoc minimo mundi
angulo, non solum ad millenam loquele variationem venire contigerit,
sed etiam at magis ultra."--De Vulg. Eloq. Lib., I., cap. x. § 8.]

[Footnote 46: 23, iv. 1448.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

ANNUNCIATION

SANTA CROCE, FLORENCE]


[Sidenote: The Crucifix and Annunciation.]

Donatello loved to characterise: in one respect only did he typify.
Where there was most character there was often least beauty. This is
illustrated by two works in Santa Croce, the Christ on the Cross and
the Annunciation. They differ in date, material, and conception, but
may be considered together. As to the exact date of the former many
opinions have been expressed. Vasari places it about 1401, Manetti
about 1405, Schmarsow 1410, Cavalucci 1416, Bode 1431, Marcel Reymond
1430-40. It is quite obvious that the crucifix is the product of
rather a timid and uncertain technique, and does not show the verve
and decision which Donatello acquired so soon. It is made of olive
wood, and is covered by a shiny brown paint which may conceal a good
deal of detailed carving. The work is sober and decorous, and not
marred by any breach of good taste. It is in no sense remarkable, and
has nothing special to connect it with Donatello. Its notoriety
springs from a long and rather inconsequent story, which says that,
having made his Christ in rivalry with Brunellesco, who was occupied
on a similar work, Donatello was so much saddened at the superiority
of the other crucifix that he exclaimed: "You make the Christ while I
can only make a peasant: _a te è conceduto fare i Cristi, ed a me i
contadini_".[47] Brunellesco's crucifix,[48] now hidden behind a
portentous array of candles, is even less attractive than that in
Santa Croce. Brunellesco was the aristocrat, the builder of haughty
palaces for haughty men, and may have really thought his cold and
correct idea superior to Donatello's peasant. To have thought of
taking a contadino for his type (disappointing as it was to Donatello)
was in itself a suggestive and far-reaching departure from the earlier
treatment of the subject. In the fourteenth century Christ on the
Cross had been treated with more reserve and in a less naturalistic
fashion. The traditional idea disappeared after these two Christs,
which are among the earliest of their kind, afterwards produced all
over Italy in such numbers. As time went on the figure of Christ
received more emphasis, until it became the vehicle for exhibiting
those painful aspects of death from which no divine message of
resurrection could be inferred. The big crucifix ascribed to
Michelozzo shows how far exaggeration could be carried.[49] The opened
mouth, the piteous expression, the clots of blood falling from the
wounds, combine to make a figure which is repellent, and which lost
all justification, from the fact that this tortured dying man shows no
conviction of divine life to come. Donatello's bronze crucifix at
Padua, made years afterwards, showed that he never forgot that a dying
Christ must retain to the last the impress of power and superhuman
origin. In the conflict of drama and beauty, Donatello allowed drama
to gain the upper hand. But the Annunciation would suggest a different
answer, for here we find what is clearly a sustained effort to secure
beauty. The Annunciation is a large relief, in which the angel and the
Virgin are placed within an elaborately carved frame, while on the
cornice above there are six children holding garlands. Its date has
been the subject of even more discussion than that of the
Crucifix,[50] and the conflict of opinion has been so keen that the
intrinsic merits of this remarkable work have been sometimes
overlooked. The date is, of course, important for the classification
of Donatello's work, but it is a pity when the attention of the critic
is monopolised by minor problems. Milizia, when in doubt about the
date of Alberti's birth, did not go too far in saying "_disgrazia
grande per chi si trova la sua felicità nelle date_." The Annunciation
was erected by the Cavalcanti family, and the old theory that it was
ordered to commemorate their share in the victory over Pisa in 1406
has been upheld by the presence on the lower frieze of a winged
wreath, an emblem of victory. The object of the donor is conjectural:
we know nothing about it; and the association of wings and a wreath is
found elsewhere in Donatello's work.[51] Moreover, the rich
Renaissance decoration is quite sufficient to demonstrate that the
work must be much later than 1406, though whether immediately before
or after the second Roman visit must be founded on hypothesis. The
precise date of the particular decoration is too nebular to permit any
exact statement on the subject. There was never any line of
demarcation between one school and another. One can find Gothic ideas
long after the Renaissance had established its principles,[52] while
the period of transition lasted so long, especially in the smaller
towns, that the old and new schools often flourished concurrently.
This relief is made of Pietra Serena, of a delicate bluish tint, very
charming to work in, according to Cellini, though without the
durability needed for statues placed out of doors.[53] It has been
enriched with a most lavish hand and there is no part of the work
without sumptuous decoration. The base, with the central wreath, is
flanked by the Cavalcanti arms: above them rise two rectangular shafts
enclosing the relief on either side. These columns are carved with a
fretwork of leaves, and their capitals are formed of strongly
chiselled masks of a classical type, like those on the Or San Michele
niche. Above the shafts comes the plinth, which has a peculiar egg and
dart moulding, in its way ugly, and finally the whole thing is crowned
with a bow-shaped arch, upon which the six terra cotta _Putti_ are
placed, two at either extremity and the other pair lying along the
curved space in the centre;[54] the panelled background and the throne
are covered with arabesques. But this intricate wealth of decoration
does not distract attention from the main figures. The Virgin has just
risen from the chair, part of her dress still resting on the seat. Her
face and feet turn in different directions, thus giving a dualism to
the movement, an impression of surprise which is in itself a _tour de
force_. But there is nothing bizarre or far-fetched, and the general
idea one receives is that we have a momentary vision of the scene: we
intercept the message which is well rendered by the pose of the
angel, while its reception is acknowledged by the startled gesture of
the Virgin. "_È stupendo l'artifizio._"[55] The scheme is what one
would expect from Luca della Robbia. Nothing of the kind reappears in
Donatello's work, and the attainment of beauty as such is also beyond
the sphere of his usual ambition. Indeed, so widely does the
Annunciation differ from our notions about the artist, that it has
been recently suggested that Donatello was assisted in the work: while
some people doubt the attribution altogether. The idea that Michelozzo
should have done some of the actual carving may be well or ill
founded; in any case, no tangible argument has been advanced to
support the idea. Donatello's authorship is vouched for by Albertini,
who wrote long before Vasari, and whose notice about the works of art
in Florence is of great value.[56] But we have no standard of
comparison, and Donatello himself had to strike out a new line for his
new theme. The internal evidence in favour of Donatello must therefore
be sought in the accessories; and in architectural details which occur
elsewhere,[57] such as the big and somewhat incontinent hands, the
typical _putti_, and the rather heavy drapery. To this we may add the
authority of early tradition, the originality and strength of
treatment, and finally the practical impossibility of suggesting any
alternative sculptor.

[Footnote 47: Vasari, iii. 247.]

[Footnote 48: In the Capella Gondi, Santa Maria Novella.]

[Footnote 49: In San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice.]

[Footnote 50: Borghini, Donatello's earliest work. Semper, 1406.
Schmarsow, 1412. Bode, before the second journey to Rome in 1433.
Reymond, 1435.]

[Footnote 51: _E.g._, on the Or San Michele niche, round the Trinity.
Verrocchio also used it on his sketch model for the Forteguerri tomb,
Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 7599, 1861.]

[Footnote 52: _E.g._, Pacifico tomb about 1438 and the Francesco
Foscari tomb about 1457, both in the Frari.]

[Footnote 53: "Due Trattati di Benvenuto Cellini," ed. Carlo Milanesi,
1857. Ch. 6 on marble.]

[Footnote 54: _Cf._ _Putti_ on the Roman Tabernacle.]

[Footnote 55: Bocchi, p. 316.]

[Footnote 56: "Memoriale di molte statue e pitture della città di
Firenze," 1510.]

[Footnote 57: Or San Michele niche, San Lorenzo Evangelists.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Martelli, David and Donatello's Technique.]

Tradition says that Ruberto Martelli was the earliest of Donatello's
patrons. So far as we know, there were two Rubertos: the elder was
seventy-three at the time of Donatello's birth, and must therefore
have been a nonagenarian before his patronage could be effectively
exercised; the other was twenty-two years younger than the sculptor,
whom he could not have helped as a young man. But there is no question
about the interest shown by the family in Donatello's work. The David
and the St. John, together with a portrait-bust and the coat of arms,
still show their practical appreciation of his work and Donatello's
gratitude to the family. Vasari is the first to mention these works,
and it must be remarked that Albertini, who paid great attention to
Donatello, mentions nothing but antique sculpture in the Martelli
palace. The David and the St. John Baptist are both in marble, and
were probably made between 1415 and 1425. The David, which was always
prized by the family, is shown in the background of Bronzino's
portrait of Ugolino Martelli.[58] It was then standing in the
courtyard of the palace, but was taken indoors in 1802 _per
intemperias_. The statue is not altogether a success. Its _allure_ is
good: but the anatomy is feminine, the type is soft and yielding; the
attitude is not spontaneous; and the head of Goliath, tucked
uncomfortable between the feet, is poor. There is a bronze statuette
in Berlin which has been considered a study for this figure, though it
is most unlikely that Donatello himself would have taken the trouble
to make bronze versions of his preparatory studies. The work, however,
is in all probability by Donatello, and most of the faults in the
marble statue being corrected, it may be later than the Martelli
figure, from which it also varies in several particulars. The
statuette is full of life and vigour, and the David is a sturdy
shepherd-boy who might well engage a lion or a bear. In one respect
the Martelli figure is of great importance. It is unfinished--the only
unfinished marble we have of the master, and it gives an insight into
the methods he employed. It is fortunate that we have some means of
understanding how Donatello gained his ends, although this statue does
not show him at his best; indeed it may have been abandoned because it
did not reach his expectations. However, we have nothing else to judge
by. The first criticism suggested by the David is that Donatello
betrays the great effort it cost him. Like the unfinished Faith by
Mino da Fiesole,[59] it is laboured and experimental. They set to work
hoping that later stages would enable them to rectify any error or
miscalculation, but both found they had gone too far. The material
would permit no such thing, and with all their skill one sees that the
blocks of marble did not unfold the statues which lay hidden within.
As hewers of stone, Donatello and Mino cannot compare with Michael
Angelo. Jacopo della Quercia alone had something of his genius of
material. Nobody left more "unfinished" work than Michael Angelo. The
Victory, the bust of Brutus, the Madonna and Child,[60] to mention a
few out of many, show clearly what his system was. In the statue of
Victory we see the three stages of development or completion. The
statue is _in_ the stone, grows out of it. The marble seems to be as
soft as soap, and Michael Angelo simply peels off successive strata,
apparently extracting a statue without the smallest effort. The three
grades are respectively shown in the rough-hewn head of the crouching
figure, then in the head of the triumphant youth above him, finally in
his completed torso. But each stage is finished relatively. Completion
is relative to distance; the Brutus is finished or unfinished
according to our standpoint, physical or æsthetic. Moreover, the
treatment is not partial or piecemeal; the statue was in the marble
from the beginning, and is an entity from its initial stage: in many
ways each stage is equally fine. The paradox of Michael Angelo's
technique is that his _abozzo_ is really a finished study. The Victory
also shows how the deep folds of drapery are bored preparatory to
being carved, in order that the chisel might meet less resistance in
the narrow spaces; this is also the case in the Martelli David. As a
technical adjunct boring was very useful, but only as a process. When
employed as a mechanical device to represent the hair of the head, we
get the Roman Empress disguised as a sponge or a honeycomb. These
tricks reveal much more than pure technicalities of art.
Gainsborough's habit of using paint brushes four or five feet long
throws a flood of light upon theory and practice alike. There is,
however, another work, possibly by Donatello himself, which gives no
insight into anything but technical methods, but which is none the
less important. This is the large Madonna and Child surrounded by
angels, belonging to Signor Bardini of Florence. It is unhappily a
complete wreck, five heads, including the Child's, having been broken
away. It is a relief in stucco, modelled, not cast, and is closely
allied with a group of Madonnas to which reference is made
hereafter.[61] We can see precisely how this relief was made. The
stucco adheres to a strong canvas, which in its turn is nailed on to a
wooden panel. The background, also much injured, is decorated with
mosaic and geometrical patterns of glass, now dim and opaque with age.
The relief must have been of signal merit. Complete it would have
rivalled the polychrome Madonna of the Louvre: as a fragment it is
quite sufficient to prove that the Piot Madonna, in the same museum,
is not authentic. One more trick of the sculptor remains to be
noticed. Vasari and Bocchi say that Donatello, recognising the value
of his work, grouped his figures so that the limbs and drapery should
offer few protruding angles, in order to minimise the danger of
fracture. It was his insurance against the fragility of the stone:
when working in bronze such precautions would be less necessary. It is
quite true that in the larger figures there is a marked restraint in
this respect, while in his bas-reliefs, where the danger was less, the
tendency to raise the arms above the head is often exaggerated. But
too much stress should not be laid upon this explanation: it is hard
to believe that Donatello would have let so crucial a matter be
governed by such a consideration. Speaking generally, Donatello was
neither more nor less restrictive than his Florentine contemporaries,
and it was only at a later period that the isolated statue received
perfect freedom, such as that in the Cellini Perseus, or the Mercury
by Gian Bologna, or Bernini's work in marble.

[Footnote 58: In the Berlin Gallery.]

[Footnote 59: Berlin Museum.]

[Footnote 60: All three in Bargello.]

[Footnote 61: See p. 185.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

SAN GIOVANNINO

PALAZZO MARTELLI, FLORENCE]


[Illustration: _Alinari_

ST. JOHN BAPTIST, MARBLE

BARGELLO]


[Sidenote: Early Figures of St. John.]

Another important statue in the Martelli palace is that of St. John
the Baptist. Besides being the earliest patron of Florence, St. John
was the titular saint of every Baptistery in the land. This accounts
for the frequency with which we find his statues and scenes from his
life, particularly in Tuscany. With Donatello he was to some extent a
speciality, and we can almost trace the sculptor's evolution in his
presentment of the Baptist, beginning with the chivalrous figure on
the Campanile and ending with the haggard ascetic of Venice. We have
St. John as a child in the Bargello, as a boy in Rome, as a stripling
in the Martelli palace. On the bell-tower he is grown up, in the Frari
he is growing older, and at Siena he is shown as old as Biblical
history would permit. The St. John in the Casa Martelli, _oltra tutti
singolare_,[62] was so highly prized that it was made an heirloom,
with penalties for such members of the family who disposed of it. This
St. John is a link between the Giovannino and the mature prophet. He
is, as it were, dazed, and sets forth upon his errand with
open-mouthed wonder. He has a strain of melancholy, and seems rather
weakly and hesitating. But there is no attempt after emaciation. The
limbs are well made, and as sturdy as one would expect, in view of the
unformed lines of the model: the hands also are good. As regards the
face, one notices that the nose and mouth are rather crooked, and that
the eyes diverge: not, indeed, that these defects are really
displeasing, since they are what one sometimes finds in living youth.
Another Baptist which has hitherto escaped attention is the small
marble figure, about four feet high, which stands in a niche over the
sacristy door of San Giovanni Fiorentino in Rome. It was placed there
a few years ago, when, owing to the prevalent mania of rebuilding, it
became necessary to demolish the little oratory on the Corso which
belonged to the Mother Church close by. The statue was scarcely seen
in its old home: how it got there is unknown. The church itself was
not founded by the Florentines until after Donatello's death, and this
statue looks as if it had been made before Donatello's visit to Rome
in 1433. But its authenticity cannot be questioned. We have the same
type as in the Martelli Baptist, with something of the Franco-Gothic
sentiment. This St. John is rather younger, a Giovannino, his thin
lithe figure draped with the camel-hair tunic which ends above the
knees. Hanging over the left shoulder is a long piece of drapery,
falling to the ground behind him, and giving support to the marble,
just as in the other Baptist. We have the open mouth, the curly hair
and the broad nostrils: in every way it is a typical work of the
sculptor. There are two other early Baptists, both in the Bargello.
The little relief in Pietra Serena[63] is a delightful rendering of
gentle boyhood. The modelling shows Donatello's masterful treatment of
the soft flesh and the tender muscles beneath it. Everything is
subordinated to his object of showing real boyhood with all the charm
of its imperfections. The head is shown in profile, thus enabling us
to judge the precise nature of all the features, each one of which
bears the imprint of callow _morbidezza_. Even the hair has the
dainty qualities of childhood: it has the texture of silk. It is a
striking contrast to the life-sized Baptist who has just reached
manhood. We see a St. John walking out into the desert. He looks
downward to the scroll in his hand, trudging forward with a hesitating
gait,--but only hesitating because he is not sure of his foothold, so
deeply is he absorbed in reading. It is a triumph of concentration.
Donatello has enlisted every agency that could intensify the oblivion
of the world around him. It is from this aloofness that the figure
leaves a detached and inhospitable impression. One feels instinctively
that this St. John would be friendless, for he has nothing to offer,
and asks no sympathy. There is no room for anybody else in his career,
and nobody can share his labours or mitigate his privations. In short,
there is no link between him and the spectator. Unless we interpret
the statue in this manner, it loses all interest--it never had any
beauty--and the St. John becomes a tiresome person with a pedantic and
ill-balanced mind. But Donatello can only have meant to teach the
lesson of concentrated unity of purpose, which is the chief if not the
only characteristic of this St. John. Technically the work is
admirable. The singular care with which the limbs are modelled,
especially the feet and hands, is noteworthy: while the muscular
system, the prominent spinal cord, and the pectoral bones are rendered
with an exactitude which leads one to suppose Donatello reproduced all
the peculiarities of his model. It has been said that Michelozzo
helped Donatello on the ground that certain details reappear on the
Aragazzi monument. The argument is speculative, and would perhaps gain
by being inverted,--by pointing out that when making the Aragazzi
figures, Michelozzo, the lesser man, was influenced by Donatello, the
greater.

[Footnote 62: Bocchi, 23. Like the David, it used to live out of
doors, until in 1755 Nicolaus Martelli "in aedes suas transtulit." Its
base dates from 1794.]

[Footnote 63: It was acquired for nine zechins in 1784. Madame André
has a version in stucco, on rather a larger scale. A marble version
from the Strawberry Hill Collection now belongs to Sir Charles Dilke,
M.P.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: CLAY SKETCH OF CRUCIFIXION AND FLAGELLATION

LONDON]


[Sidenote: Donatello as Architect and Painter.]

Fully as Donatello realised the unity of the arts, we cannot claim him
as a universal genius, like Leonardo or Michael Angelo, who combined
the art of literature with plastic, pictorial and architectural
distinction. But at the same time Donatello did not confine himself to
sculpture. He was a member of the Guild of St. Luke: he designed a
stained-glass window for the Cathedral: his opinion on building the
Cupola was constantly invited, and he made a number of marble works,
such as niches, fountains, galleries and tombs, into which the pursuit
of architecture and construction was bound to enter. Moreover, his
backgrounds were usually suggested by architectural motives. Donatello
joined the painters' guild of St. Luke in 1412, and in a document of
this year he is called _Pictor_.[64] There is a great variety in the
names and qualifications given to artists during the fifteenth
century. In the first edition of the Lives, Vasari calls Ghiberti a
painter. Pisano, the medallist, signed himself Pictor. _Lastrajuolo_,
or stone-fitter, is applied to Nanni di Banco.[65] Giovanni Nani was
called _Tagliapietra_,[66] Donatello is also called _Marmoraio_,
_picchiapietre_,[67] and woodcarver.[68] In the commission from the
Orvieto Cathedral for a bronze Baptist he is comprehensively described
as "_intagliatorem figurarum, magistrum lapidum atque intagliatorem
figurarum in ligno et eximium magistrum omnium trajectorum_."[69]
Finally, like Ciuffagni,[70] he is called _aurifex_, goldsmith.[71]
Cellini mentions Donatello's success in painting,[72] and Gauricus,
who wrote early in the sixteenth century, says that the favourite
maxim inculcated by Donatello to his pupils was "_designate_"--"Draw:
that is the whole foundation of sculpture."[73] The only pictorial
work that has survived is the great stained-glass Coronation of the
Virgin in the Duomo. Ghiberti submitted a competitive cartoon and the
Domopera had to settle which was "_pulchrius et honorabilius pro
ecclesia_." Donatello's design was accepted,[74] and the actual
glazing was carried out by Bernardo Francesco in eighteen months.[75]
The background is a plain blue sky, and the two great figures are the
centre of a warm and harmonious composition. The window stands well
among its fellows as regards colour and design, but does not help us
to solve difficult problems connected with Donatello's drawings.
Numbers have been attributed to him on insufficient foundation.[76]
The fact is that, notwithstanding the explicit statements of Borghini
and Vasari that Donatello and Michael Angelo were comparable in
draughtsmanship, we have no authenticated work through which to make
our inductions. A large and important scene of the Flagellation in the
Uffizzi,[77] placed within a complicated architectural framework, and
painted in green wash, has some later Renaissance features, but
recalls Donatello's compositions. In the same collection are two
extremely curious pen-and-ink drawings which give variants of
Donatello's tomb of John XXIII. in the Baptistery. The first of them
(No. 660) shows the Pope in his tiara, whereas on the tomb this symbol
of the Papacy occupies a subordinate place. The Charity below carries
children, another variant from the tomb itself. The second study (No.
661) gives the effigy of a bareheaded knight in full armour lying to
the left, and the basal figures also differ from those on the actual
tomb. These drawings are certainly of the fifteenth century, and even
if not directly traceable to Donatello himself, are important from
their relation to the great tomb of the Pope, for which Donatello was
responsible. But we have no right to say that even these are
Donatello's own work. In fact, drawings on paper by Donatello would
seem inherently improbable. Although he almost drew in marble when
working in _stiacciato_, the lowest kind of relief, he was essentially
a modeller, rather than a draughtsman. Leonardo was just the reverse;
Michael Angelo was both, but with him sculpture was _the_ art.
Donatello had small sense of surface or silhouette, and we would not
expect him to commit his ideas to paper, just as Nollekens,[78] who
drew so badly that he finally gave up drawing, and limited himself to
modelling instead--turning the clay round and round and observing it
from different aspects, thus employing a tactile in place of a
pictorial medium. Canova also trusted chiefly to the plastic sense to
create the form. But Donatello must nevertheless have used pen and ink
to sketch the tombs, the galleries, the Roman tabernacle, and similar
works. It is unfortunate that none of his studies can be identified.
There is, however, one genuine sketch by Donatello, but it is a sketch
in clay. The London Panel[79] was made late in life, when Donatello
left a considerable share to his assistants. It is therefore a
valuable document, showing Donatello's system as regards his own
preliminary studies and the amount of finishing he would leave to
pupils. We see his astonishing plastic facility, and the ease with
which he could improvise by a few curves, depressions and prominences
so complex a theme as the Flagellation, or Christ on the Cross. It
is a marvel of dexterity.

[Footnote 64: Domopera archives, 12, viii., 1412.]

[Footnote 65: _Ibid._, 31, xii., 1407.]

[Footnote 66: Padua, 3, iv., 1443.]

[Footnote 67: When working at Pisa in 1427. See Centofanti, p. 4.]

[Footnote 68: Commission for bronze Baptist for Ancona, 1422.]

[Footnote 69: Contract in Orvieto archives, 10, ii., 1423.]

[Footnote 70: Domopera, 2, ix., 1429.]

[Footnote 71: _Ibid._ 18, iii., 1426.]

[Footnote 72: "Due Trattati," ch. xii.]

[Footnote 73: Pomponius Gauricus, "De Sculptura," 1504, p. b, iii.]

[Footnote 74: April 1434.]

[Footnote 75: See _American Journal of Arch._, June 1900.]

[Footnote 76: The so-called St. George in the Royal Library at Windsor
has been determined by Mr. R. Holmes to be Perugino's study for the
St. Michael in the National Gallery triptych. In the Uffizzi several
pen-and-ink drawings are attributed to Donatello. The four eagles, the
group of three peasants, the two figures seen from behind (Frame 5,
No. 181), and the candlestick (Frame 7, No. 61 s.), are nondescript
studies in which no specific sign of Donatello appears. The five
winged _Putti_ (Frame 7, No. 40 f.) and the two studies of the Madonna
(Frame 7, No. 38 f.) are more Donatellesque, but they show the
niggling touch of some draughtsman who tried to make a sketch by mere
indications with his pen. There is also a study in brown wash of the
Baptistery Magdalen: probably made from, and not for, the statue. The
Louvre has an ink sketch (No. 2225, Reynolds and His De la Salle
Collections) of the three Maries at the Tomb, or perhaps a fragment of
a Crucifixion, with a fourth figure, cowled like a monk. It is a gaunt
composition, made with very strong lines. It may be noted that the
eyes are roughly suggested by circles, a mannerism which recurs in
several drawings ascribed to Donatello. This was also a trick of
Baldassare Peruzzi (Sketch-Book, Siena Library, p. 13, &c.). In the
British Museum there is an Apostle holding a book (No. 1860, 6. 13.
31), with a Donatellesque hand and forearm; also a Lamentation over
the dead Christ (No. 1862, 7. 2. 189). Both are interesting drawings,
but the positive evidence of Donatello's authorship is _nil_. Mr.
Gathorne Hardy's drawing, which has been ascribed to Donatello, is
really by Mantegna, a capital study for one of the frescoes in the
Eremitani.]

[Footnote 77: Uffizzi, Frame 6, No. 6347 f.]

[Footnote 78: See Life by J.T. Smith, 1828.]

[Footnote 79: Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 7619, 1861. This sketch,
which appears to have been made for the Forzori family, has been
mistaken for a study for the San Lorenzo pulpit.]

[Illustration: _Alinari_

NICHE OF OR SAN MICHELE

THE GROUP BY VERROCCHIO]

Sculpture relies upon the contour, architecture upon the line. The
distinction is vital, and were it not for the number and importance of
the exceptions, from Michael Angelo down to Alfred Stevens, one would
think that the sculptor-architect would be an anomaly. In describing
the pursuits of Donatello and Brunellesco during their first visit to
Rome, Manetti says that the former was engrossed by his plastic
researches, "_senza mai aprire gli occhi alla architettura_." It is
difficult to believe that Donatello had no eyes for architecture.
There are several reasons to show that later on he gave some attention
to its study. Like the Roman Tabernacle, the Niche on Or San
Michele[80] is without any Gothic details. Albertini mentions
Donatello as its sole author, but it is probable that Michelozzo, who
helped on the statue of St. Louis, was also associated with its niche.
It is a notable work, designed without much regard to harmony between
various orders of architecture, but making a very rich and pleasing
whole. It is decorated with some admirable reliefs. On the base are
winged _putti_ carrying a wreath; in the spandrils above the arch are
two more. The upper frieze has also winged cherubs' heads, six of them
with swags of fruit and foliage, all of exceptional charm and
vivacity. The motive of wings recurs in the large triangular space at
the top; flanking the magnificent Trinity, three grave and majestic
heads, which though united are kept distinct, and though similar in
type are full of individual character. This little relief, placed
rather high, and discountenanced by the bronze group below, is a
memorable achievement of the early fifteenth century and heralds the
advent of the power and solemnity, the _Terribilità_ of Michael
Angelo. Donatello's aptitude for architectural setting is also
illustrated by the choristers' galleries in the Cathedral and San
Lorenzo. The former must be dealt with in detail when considering
Donatello's treatment of childhood. As an architectural work it shows
how the sculptor employed decorative adjuncts such as mosaic and
majolica[81] to set off the white marble; he also added deep maroon
slabs of porphyry and bronze heads, thus combining various arts and
materials. Having no sculpture, the Cantoria of San Lorenzo is perhaps
more important in this connection, as it is purely constructive, while
its condition is intact: the Cathedral gallery having been rebuilt on
rather conjectural lines. In San Lorenzo we find the same ideas and
peculiarities, such as the odd egg and dart moulding which reappears
on the Annunciation. The colour effects are obtained by porphyry and
inlaid marbles. But we see how much Donatello trusted to sculpture,
and how indifferently he fared without it. This gallery does not
retain one's attention. There is a stiffness about it, almost a
monotony, and it looks more like the fragment of a balcony than a
_Cantoria_, for there is no marked terminal motive to complete and
enclose it at either end. Two gateways have been ascribed to
Donatello, but there is nothing either in their architecture or the
treatment of their heraldic decoration, which is distinctive of the
sculptor.[82] There can be no doubt that Donatello was employed as
architect by the Chapter of Sant' Antonio at Padua,[83] and his love
of buildings is constantly shown in the background of his reliefs. But
the strongest testimony to his architectural skill is derived from the
fact that he was commissioned in 1416 to make a model for the then
unfinished cupola of the Cathedral at Florence. Brunellesco and Nanni
di Banco also received similar orders. Brunellesco alone understood
the immense difficulty of the task, and in the next year he announced
his return to Rome for further research. In 1418 the sum of two
hundred gold florins was offered for the best model, and in 1419
Ghiberti, Nanni di Banco, Donatello and Brunellesco all received
payments for models. Donatello's was made of brick. Ultimately the
work was entrusted to Brunellesco, who overcame the ignorance and
intrigues which he encountered from all sides, his two staunch friends
being Donatello and Luca della Robbia. As to the nature of Donatello's
models we know nothing; it is, however, clear that his opinion was at
one time considered among the best available on a problem which
required knowledge of engineering. As a military engineer Donatello
was a failure. He was sent in 1429 with other artists to construct a
huge dam outside the besieged town of Lucca, in order to flood or
isolate the city. The amateur and _dilettante_ of the Renaissance
found a rare opportunity in warfare; and this passion for war and its
preparations occurs frequently among these early artists. Leonardo
designed scores of military engines. Francesco di Giorgio has left a
whole bookful of such sketches, in one of which he anticipates the
torpedo-boat.[84] So, too, Michael Angelo took his share in erecting
fortifications, though he did not fritter away so much time on
experiments as some of his contemporaries. Donatello and his
colleagues did not even leave us plans to compensate for their
ignominious failure. One is struck by the confidence of these
Renaissance people, not only in art but in every walk of life. They
were so sure of success, that failure came to be regarded as
surprising, and very unprofessional. Michael Angelo had no conception
of possible failure. He embarked upon the colossal statue of the Pope
when quite inexperienced in casting; he was the first to taunt
Leonardo on his failure to make the equestrian statue. When somebody
failed, the work was handed over to another man, who was expected to
succeed. Thus Ciuffagni had to abandon an unpromising statue, _quod
male et inepte ipsam laboravit_,[85] and the David of Michael Angelo
was made from a block of marble upon which Agostino di Duccio had
already made fruitless attempts.

[Footnote 80: The niche was completed about 1424-5. There is a drawing
of it in Vettorio Ghiberti's Note-book, p. 70. Landucci, in his
"Diario Fiorentino," says that Verrocchio's group was placed in it on
June 21, 1483.]

[Footnote 81: _Cf._ Payments to Andrea Moscatello, for painted and
glazed terra-cotta for the Paduan altar. May 1449.]

[Footnote 82: From the Residenza dell' arte degli Albergatori, and
that of the Rigattieri of Florence, figured on plates xii. and xv. of
Carocci's "Ricordi del Mercato Vecchio," 1887.]

[Footnote 83: _Cf._ Payments for work on "_Archi de la balconà de lo
lavoriero de la +_," _i.e._, the crociera of the church, March 30 and
April 11, 1444.]

[Footnote 84: Siena Library.]

[Footnote 85: Domopera, 7, vii. 1433.]

[Illustration: _Alinari_

THE MARZOCCO

BARGELLO]


[Illustration: _Alinari_

THE MARTELLI SHIELD]

Two fountains are ascribed to Donatello, made respectively for the
Pazzi and Medici families. The former now belongs to Signor Bardini.
It is a fine bold thing, but the figure and centrepiece are
unfortunately missing. The marble is coated with the delicate patina
of water: its decoration is rather nondescript, but there is no reason
to suppose that Rossellino's _fonte_ mentioned by Albertini was the
only one possessed by the Great House of the Pazzi. The Medici
fountain, now in the Pitti Palace, is rather larger, being nearly
eight feet high. The decoration is opulent, and one could not date
these florid ideas before Donatello's later years. The boy at the top
dragging along a swan is Donatellesque, but with mannerisms to which
we are unaccustomed. The work is not convincing as regards his
authorship. The marble Lavabo in the sacristy of San Lorenzo is also a
doubtful piece of sculpture. It has been attributed to Verrocchio,
Donatello and Rossellino. It has least affinity to Donatello. The
detailed attention paid by the sculptor to the floral decoration, and
the fussy manner in which the whole thing is overcrowded, as if the
artist were afraid of simplicity, suggest the hand of Rossellino, to
whom Albertini, the first writer on the subject, has ascribed it.
Donatello made the Marzocco, the emblematic Lion of the Florentines,
and it has therefore been assumed that he also made its marble
pedestal. This is held to be contemporary with the niche of Or San
Michele. So far as the architectural and decorative lines are
concerned this is not impossible, though the early Renaissance motives
long retained their popularity. There is, however, one detail showing
that the base must be at least twenty-five years older than the niche.
The arms of the various quarters of Florence are carved upon the
frieze of the base. Among these shields we notice one bearing "on a
field semée of fleurs-de-lys, a label, above all a bendlet dexter."
These are not Italian arms. They were granted in 1452 to Jean, Comte
de Dunois, an illegitimate son of the Duc d'Orléans. His coat had
previously borne the bendlet sinister, but this was officially turned
into a bendlet dexter, to show that the King had been pleased to
legitimise him in recognition of his services to Joan of Arc. Jean was
a contemporary of Donatello, and the coat may have been placed among
the other shields as a compliment to France. Certainly no quarter of a
town could use a mark of cadency below a bendlet, and Florence was
more careful than most Italian towns to be precise in her heraldry.
Numbers of stone shields bearing the arms of Florentine families were
placed upon the palace walls. When high up and protected by the broad
eaves they have survived; but, as a rule, those which were exposed to
the weather, carved as they usually were in soft stone, have
perished.[86] Bocchi mentions that Donatello made coats-of-arms for
the Becchi, the Boni and the Pazzi. Others have been ascribed to him,
namely, the Stemma of the Arte della Seta, from the Via di Capaccio,
that on the Gianfigliazzi Palace, the shield inside the courtyard of
the Palazzo Davanzati, and that on the Palazzo Quaratesi, all in
Florence. These have been much repaired, and in some cases almost
entirely renewed. The shield on the eastern side of the old Martelli
Palace (in the Via de' Martelli, No. 9) is, perhaps, coeval with
Donatello, but it is insignificant beside the shield preserved inside
the present palace. This coat-of-arms, which is coloured according to
the correct metals and tinctures, is one of the finest extant
specimens of decorative heraldry. It is a winged griffin rampant, with
the tail and hindlegs of a lion. The shield is supported by the stone
figure of a retainer, cut in very deep relief, as the achievement was
to be seen from the street below. But the shield itself rivets one's
attention. This griffin can be classed with the Stryge, or the
Etruscan Chimæra as a classic example of the fantastic monsters which
were used for conventional purposes, but which were widely believed to
exist. It possesses all the traditional attributes of the griffin. It
is fearless and heartless: its horrible claws strike out to wound in
every direction, and the whole body vibrates with feline elasticity,
as well as the agile movement of a bird. Regarding it purely as a
composition, we see how admirably Donatello used the space at his
command: his economy of the shield is masterly. It is occupied at
every angle, but nowhere crowded. The spaces which are left vacant are
deliberately contrived to enhance the effect of the figure. It is the
antithesis of the Marzocco.[87] The sculptor must have seen lions, but
the Marzocco is not treated in a heraldic spirit, although it holds
the heraldic emblem of Florence, the _fleur de lys florencée_.
Physically it is unsuccessful, for it has no spring, there is very
little muscle in the thick legs which look like pillars, and the back
is far too broad. But Donatello is saved by his tact; he was
ostensibly making the portrait of a lion; though he gives none of its
features, he gives us all the chief leonine characteristics. He
excelled in imaginary animals, like the Chinese artists who make
admirable dragons, but indifferent tigers.

[Footnote 86: _Cf._ those high up on the Loggia de' Lanzi, or in other
Tuscan towns where the climate was not more severe, but where there
was less cash or inclination to replace the shields which were worn
away.]

[Footnote 87: The marble original is now in the Bargello, and has been
replaced by a bronze _replica_, which occupies the old site on the
Ringhiera of the Palazzo Pubblico. Lions were popular in Florence.
Albertini mentions an antique porphyry lion in the Casa Capponi, much
admired by Lorenzo de' Medici. Paolo Ucello painted a lion fight for
Cosimo. The curious rhymed chronicle of 1459 describes the lion fights
in the great Piazza ("Rer. It. Script.," ii. 722). Other cases could
be quoted. Donatello also made a stone lion for the courtyard of the
house used by Martin V. during his visit to Florence in 1419-20.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

SALOME RELIEF, SIENA.

STATUETTE OF FAITH (TO LEFT)]


[Sidenote: The Siena Font.]

Siena had planned her Cathedral on so ambitious a scale, that had not
the plague reduced her to penury the Duomo of Florence would have been
completely outrivalled. The Sienese, however, ordered various works of
importance for their Cathedral, and among these the Font takes a high
place. It was entrusted to Jacopo della Quercia, who had the active
assistance of Donatello and Ghiberti, as well as that of the Turini
and Neroccio, townsmen of his own. Donatello was thus brought under
new influences. He made a relief, a _sportello_ or little door, two
statuettes, and some children, all in bronze, being helped in the
casting by Michelozzo. Jacopo, who was about ten years older than
Donatello, had been a competitor for the Baptistery gates. He was a
man of immense power, in some ways greater than Donatello; never
failing to treat his work on broad and massive lines, and one of the
few sculptors whose work can survive mutilation. The fragments of the
Fonte Gaya need no reconstruction or repair to tell their meaning;
their statuesque virtues, though sadly mangled, proclaim the
unmistakable touch of genius. But Donatello's personality was not
affected by the Sienese artists. Jacopo, it is true, was constantly
absent, being busily engaged at Bologna, to the acute annoyance of the
Sienese, who ordered him to return forthwith. Jacopo said he would die
rather than disobey, "_potius eligeret mori quam non obedire patriæ
suæ_"; but the political troubles at the northern town prevented his
prompt return. However, after being fined he got home, was reconciled
to the Chapter, and ultimately received high honours from the city.
His font is an interesting example of transition; the base is much
more Gothic than the upper part. The base or font proper is a large
hexagonal bason decorated with six bronze reliefs and a bronze
statuette between each--Faith, Hope, Charity, Justice, Prudence, and
Strength. The reliefs are scenes from the life of the Baptist. From
the centre of the font rises the tall Renaissance tabernacle with five
niches, in which Jacopo placed marble statues of David and the four
major prophets, one of which suggested the San Petronio of Michael
Angelo. A statue of the Baptist surmounts the entire font. In spite of
the number of people who co-operated with Jacopo, the whole
composition is harmonious. Donatello made the gilded statuettes of
Faith and Hope. The former, looking downwards, has something of
Sienese severity. Hope is with upturned countenance, joining her hands
in prayer; charming alike in her gesture and pose. Two instalments for
these figures are recorded in 1428. The authorities had been lax in
paying for the work, and we have a letter[88] asking the Domopera for
payment, Donatello and Michelozzo being rather surprised--"_assai
maravigliati_"--that the florins had not arrived. The last of these
bronze Virtues, by Goro di Neroccio, was not placed on the font till
1431. Donatello also had the commission for the _sportello_, the
bronze door of the tabernacle. But the authorities were dissatisfied
with the work and returned it to the sculptor, though indemnifying him
for the loss.[89] This was in 1434, the children for the upper cornice
having been made from 1428 onwards. The relief, which was ordered in
1421, was finished some time in 1427. It is Donatello's first relief
in bronze, and his earliest definitive effort to use a complicated
architectural background. The incident is the head of St. John being
presented on the charger by the kneeling executioner. Herod starts
back dismayed at the sight, suddenly realising the purport of his
action. Two children playing beside him hurriedly get up; one sees
that in a moment they, too, will be terror-stricken. Salome watches
the scene; it is very simple and very dramatic. The bas-relief of St.
George releasing Princess Sabra, the Cleodolinda of Spencer's Faerie
Queen, is treated as an epic, the works having a connecting bond in
the figures of the girls, who closely resemble each other. Much as one
admires the _élan_ of St. George slaying the dragon, this bronze
relief of Siena is the finer of the two; it is more perfect in its
way, and Donatello shows more apt appreciation of the spaces at his
disposal. The Siena plaque, like the marble relief of the dance of
Salome at Lille, to which it is analogous, has a series of arches
vanishing into perspective. They are not fortuitous buildings, but are
used by the sculptor to subdivide and multiply the incidents. They
give depth to the scene, adding a sense of the beyond. The Lille
relief has a wonderful background, full of hidden things, reminding
one of the mysterious etchings of Piranesi.

[Footnote 88: 9. v. 1427. Milanesi, ii. 134.]

[Footnote 89: Lusini, 28.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

TOMB OF COSCIA, POPE JOHN XXIII.

BAPTISTERY, FLORENCE]


[Illustration: _Alinari_

EFFIGY OF POPE JOHN XXIII.

BAPTISTERY, FLORENCE]


[Sidenote: Michelozzo and the Coscia Tomb.]

For ten years Donatello was associated with Michelozzo,[90] who began
as assistant and finally entered into a partnership which lasted until
1433. The whole subject is obscure, and until we have a critical
biography of Michelozzo his relation with various men and monuments of
the fifteenth century must remain problematical. Michelozzo has not
hitherto received his due meed of appreciation. As a sculptor and
architect he frequently held a subordinate position, and it has
been assumed that he therefore lacked independence and originality.
But the man who was Court architect of the Medici, and director of the
Cathedral building staff, was no mere hack; while his sculpture at
Milan, Naples, and Montepulciano show that his plastic abilities were
far from mean. He was a great man with interludes of smallness. When
Donatello required technical help in casting, Michelozzo was called
in. Though Donatello had worked for Ghiberti on the bronze gates, he
was never quite at home in the science of casting. Gauricus says he
always employed professional help--"_nunquam fudit ipse, campanariorum
usus opera semper_."[91] Caldieri cast for him at Padua. Michelozzo
also helped Luca della Robbia in casting the Sacristy gates which
Donatello should have made; the commissions which Donatello threw over
were those for work in bronze. The partnership extended over some of
the best years of Donatello's life, and three tombs, the St. Louis,
and the Prato pulpit are among their joint products. The tombs of Pope
John XXIII. in the Baptistery, that of Aragazzi the Papal Secretary at
Montepulciano, and that of Cardinal Brancacci at Naples, are
noteworthy landmarks in the evolution of sepulchral monuments, which
attained their highest perfection in Italy. In discussing them it will
be seen how fully Michelozzo shared the responsibilities of Donatello.
Baldassare Coscia, on his election to the Papacy, took the title of
John XXIII. He was deposed by a council and retired to Florence, where
he died in 1418. He was befriended by the Medici, who erected the
monument, the last papal tomb outside Rome, to his memory. "_Johannes
Quondam Papa XXIII._" is inscribed on it, and it is said that Coscia's
successful rival objected to this appellation of his predecessor, but
the protest went unheeded. The tomb is remarkable in many ways. Its
construction is most skilful, as it was governed by the two upright
pillars between which the monument had to be fitted. We have a series
of horizontal lines; a frieze at the base, then three Virtues; above
this the effigy, and finally a Madonna beneath a baldachino. Each tier
is separated by lines which intersect the columns at right angles. The
task of making a monument which would not be dwarfed by these huge
plain pillars was not easy. But the tomb, which is decorated with
prudent reserve, holds its own. The effigy is bronze: all the rest is
marble. It was probably coloured, and a drawing in Ghiberti's
note-book gives a background of cherry red, with the figures
gilded.[92] Coscia lies in his mitre and episcopal robes, his head
turned outwards towards the spectator. The features are admirably
modelled with the firmness and consistency of living flesh: indeed it
is the portrait of a sleeping man, troubled, perhaps, in his dream.
The tomb was made some years after Coscia's death, and Donatello has
not treated him as a dead man. The effigy is a contrast to that of
Cardinal Brancacci, where we have the unmistakable lineaments and
fallen features of a corpse. The dusky hue of Coscia's face should be
noticed; the bronze appears to have been rubbed with some kind of dark
composition, similar in tone to that employed by Torrigiano. Below the
recumbent Pope is the sarcophagus; two delightful winged boys hold
the cartel on which the epitaph is boldly engraved. The three marble
figures in niches at the base, Faith, Hope and Charity, belong to a
different category. Albertini says that the bronze is by Donatello,
and "_li ornamenti marmorei di suoi discipuli_." Half a century later,
Vasari says that Donatello made two of them, and that Michelozzo made
the Faith, which is the least successful of the three. Modern
criticism tends to revert to Albertini, assigning all to Michelozzo,
with the presumption that Hope, which is derived from the Siena
statuette, was executed from Donatello's design. Certainly the basal
figures are without the _brio_ of Donatello's chisel; likewise the
Madonna above the effigy, which is vacillating, and may have been the
earliest work of Pagno di Lapo, a man about whom we have slender
authenticated knowledge, but whom we know to have been well employed
in and around Florence. In any case, we cannot reconcile this Madonna
with Michelozzo's sculpture. As will be seen later on, Michelozzo had
many faults, but he was seldom insipid. The Madonna and Saints on the
façade of Sant' Agostino at Montepulciano show that Michelozzo was a
vigorous man. This latter work is certainly by him, the local
tradition connecting it with one Pasquino da Montepulciano being
unfounded. The Coscia tomb is among the earliest of that composite
type which soon pervaded Italy. At least one other monument was
directly copied from it, that of Raffaello Fulgosio at Padua. This was
made by Giovanni da Pisa, and the sculptor's conflict between respect
for the old model, and his desires after the new ideas, is apparent in
the whole composition.

[Footnote 90: See "Arch. Storico dell' Arte," 1893, p. 209.]

[Footnote 91: "De Sculptura," 1504, folio e. 1. On the other hand, the
sculptor Verrocchio cast a bell for the Vallombrosans in 1474, and
artillery for the Venetian Republic.]

[Footnote 92: _Op. cit._ p. 70. In this drawing two _putti_ are also
shown holding a shield, above the monument; this has now
disappeared.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: The Aragazzi Tomb.]

In the _Denunzia de' beni_ of 1427 Donatello states that he was
working with Michelozzo on the tomb of Bartolommeo Aragazzi, and the
monument has therefore been ascribed to them both. But recent research
has established that, though preparatory orders were given in that
year, a fresh contract was made two years later, and that Donatello's
share in the work was nil. Michelozzo alone got payment up to 1436 or
thereabouts, when the tomb was completed. Donatello's influence would,
perhaps, have been visible in the design, but unhappily we can no
longer even judge of this, for the tomb is a wreck, having been broken
up to make room for structural alterations.[93] Important fragments
are preserved, scattered about the church; but the sketch of the tomb,
said to be preserved in the local library, has never yet been
discovered. The monument had ill-fortune from the very beginning. An
amusing letter has come down to us, pathetic too, for it records the
first incident in the tragedy. Leonardo Aretino writes to Poggio, that
when going home one day he came across a party of men trying to
extricate a wagon which had stuck in the deep ruts. The oxen were out
of breath and the teamsmen out of temper. Leonardo went up to them and
made inquiries. One of the carters, wiping the sweat from his brow,
muttered an imprecation upon poets, past, present and future (_Dii
perdant poetas omnes, et qui fuerunt unquam et qui futuri sunt_.)
Leonardo, a poet himself, asked what harm they had done him: and the
man simply replied that it was because this poet, Aragazzi, who was
lately dead, ordered his marble tomb to be taken all the way to
Montepulciano from Rome, where he died; hence the trouble. "_Hæc est
imago ejus quam cernis_," said the man, pointing to the effigy, having
incidentally remarked that Aragazzi was "_stultus nempe homo ac
ventosus_."[94] Certainly Aragazzi was not a successful man, and he
was addicted to vanity. In the marble we see a wan melancholy face,
seemingly of one who failed to secure due measure of public
recognition. The monument need not be further described, except to say
that two of the surviving figures are very remarkable. They probably
acted as caryatides, of which there must have been three, replacing
ordinary columns as supporters of the sarcophagus. They can hardly be
Virtues, for they are obviously muscular men with curly hair and
brawny arms. They are not quite free from mannerisms: the attitudes,
granting that the bent position were required by their support of the
tomb, are not quite easy or natural. But, in spite of this, they are
really magnificent things, placing their author high among sculptors
of his day.

[Footnote 93: The effigy is placed in a niche close to the great door
of the Cathedral, put there "lest the memory of so distinguished a man
should perish"--"_Simulacrum ejus diu neglectum, ne tanti viri memoria
penitus deleretur, Politiana pietas hic collocandum curavit anno
MDCCCXV_." The remainder consists of a frieze now incorporated in the
high altar, on either side of which stand two caryatides. The Christ
Blessing is close by. Two bas-reliefs are inserted into pillars
opposite the effigy.]

[Footnote 94: "Letters," Florence ed. 1741, vol. ii. 45.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

TOMB OF CARDINAL BRANCACCI

NAPLES]


[Sidenote: The Brancacci Tomb.]

The Church of Sant' Angelo a Nilo at Naples contains the monument of
Cardinal Brancacci, one of the most impressive tombs of this period.
The scheme is a modification of the Coscia tomb. Instead of the three
Virtues in niches at the base, there are three larger allegorical
figures, which are free standing caryatides below the sarcophagus.
They are allegorical figures, perhaps Fates, and correspond with the
two somewhat similar statues at Montepulciano. The Cardinal's effigy
lies upon the stone coffin, the face of which has a bas-relief between
heraldic shields. Two angels stand above the recumbent figure, holding
back the curtain which extends upwards to the next storey, surrounding
a deep lunette in which there is a Madonna between two Saints. Here
the monument should have ended, but it is surmounted by an ogival
arch, flanked by two trumpeting children and with a central medallion
of God the Father. This topmost tier may have been a subsequent
addition. It overweights the whole monument, introduces a discordant
architectural motive, and is decorated by inferior sculpture. The
Madonna in the lunette is also poor, and the curtain looks as if it
were made of lead. But the lower portion of the tomb compensates for
the faults above. The caryatides, the bas-relief of the Assumption,
the Cardinal himself and the mourning angels above him, are all superb
in their different ways. Michelozzo may have been responsible for the
architecture, and Pagno di Lapo for the upper reliefs. Donatello
himself made the priceless relief of the Assumption, also the effigy,
and the two attendants standing above it. The entire tomb is marble:
it was made at Pisa,[95] close to the inexhaustible quarries which,
being near to the sea, made transport easy and cheap. From the time of
Strabo, the _marmor Lunense_ had been carried thence to every port of
the Peninsula.[96] Michelozzo took the tomb to Naples, and perhaps
added the final touches: not, indeed, that the carving is quite
complete, the Cardinal's ear, for instance, being rough-hewn.
Brancacci lies to the left, wearing a mitre on his head, which is
raised on a pillow. The chiselling of the face is masterly. The
features are shown in painful restless repose. The eyes are sunken and
half closed: the lips are drawn, the brow contracted, and the throat
shows all the tendons and veins which one notices in the Habbakuk, but
which are here relaxed and uncontrolled. It is a death-mask: a grim
and instantaneous likeness of the supreme moment, when the agony may
have passed away, but not without leaving indelible traces of the
crisis. The two angels look down on the dead prelate. They hold back
the curtain which would conceal the effigy, thus inviting the
spectator into the privacy of the tomb. In some ways these two angels
are among the noblest creations of the master. They are comparatively
small, their position is subordinate, and they have been repaired by a
clumsy journeyman. Yet they have a majestic solemnity. They are calm
impersonal mourners--not shrouded like the bowed figures which bear
the effigy of the Sénéchal of Burgundy.[97] They stand upright, simply
posed and simply clad guardian angels, absorbed by watching the dead.
The three large figures which support the sarcophagus are by
Michelozzo, and are intimately related to the Aragazzi caryatides.
That on the right has a Burgundian look. They form a striking group,
and their merits are not appreciated as they should be owing to the
excellence of the sculpture immediately above them.

[Footnote 95: Donatello worked there for eighteen months. See
documents in Centofanti, p. 4, &c.]

[Footnote 96: "_... Lapides albi et discolores ad coeruleum vergente
specie._" Strabo, "Geog.," 1807 ed., I. v. p. 314.]

[Footnote 97: Louvre, No. 216. Tomb of Philippe Pot, circa 1480.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Stiacciato.]

The Assumption of the Virgin occupies the central position of the
tomb. It is a small panel. The Virgin is seated in a folding-chair
which is familiar in fifteenth-century art. Surrounding her are angels
supporting the clouds which make an oval halo round her, a _mandorla_.
The cloud, curiously enough, is very heavy, yielding to the touch, and
upheld by the flying angels, whose hands press their way into it, and
bear their burden with manifest effort. There is none of the limpid
atmosphere which Perugino secured in painting, and Ghiberti in
sculpture. But, on the other hand, the air is full of drama, presaging
an event for which Donatello thought a placid sky unsuitable. There
are seven angels in all; the lowest, upon whose head the Virgin rests
her foot, is half Blake and half Michael Angelo. But there are many
other busy little cherubs swimming, climbing, and flying amidst the
interstices of cloudland. The Virgin herself, draped in easy-flowing
material, has folded her hands, and awaits her entry to Paradise. Her
face is the picture of anxiety and apprehension. The Assumption is
carved in the lowest possible relief, called _stiacciato_. The word
means depressed or flattened. It is the word with which Condivi
describes the appearance of Michael Angelo's nose after it had been
broken--it was "_un poco stiacciato; non per natura_," but by the blow
of a certain Torrigiano, "_huomo bestiale e superbo_."[98] Donatello
was fond of this method of work. We have a fine example in London,[99]
and his most successful use of _stiacciato_ is on the Roman Tabernacle
made a few years after the Brancacci relief. Donatello did not invent
this style. It had been used in classical times, though scarcely to
the extent of Donatello, who drew in the marble. The Assyrians also
used this low-relief; we find the system fully understood in what are
perhaps the most spirited hunting scenes in the world.[100] In these
we also notice the square and rectangular undercutting similar to that
in many of Donatello's reliefs. Another specimen of this very
low-relief is found in Mr. Quincy Shaw's marble panel of the Virgin
and Child seated among clouds and surrounded by _putti_. This has been
attributed to Donatello on good authority,[101] though it must be
remarked that the cherubs' faces show poverty of invention which might
suggest the hand of a weaker man. Moreover, the cherubs have halos,
which is a later development, and quite contrary to Donatello's early
practice. But the relief is an interesting composition, and if by
Donatello, may be regarded as the parent of a group which attained
popularity. M. Gustave Dreyfus has a smaller marble variant of great
charm, made by Desiderio. A stucco panel treated in much the same
manner is preserved at Berlin. The Earl of Wemyss has an early version
in _repoussé_ silver of high technical merit. From this point of view
nothing is more instructive than a Madonna and Child at Milan.[102] It
is probably the work of Pierino da Vinci, and is a thin oval slab of
marble carved on either side. One side is unfinished, and is most
valuable as showing the facility with which the sharp graving tools
were employed to incise the marble. The composition bears a
resemblance to the reliefs just mentioned, and the pose of the two
heads is Donatellesque, but the Child is elongated and ill-drawn.
Again, from a technical point of view, a medallion portrait of the
late Lord Lytton shows that artists of our own day have used
_stiacciato_ with perfect confidence and success.[103] Donatello was
not always quite consistent in its employment. In the Entombment at
Padua it is combined with high-relief. He, no doubt, acted
deliberately; that is to say, he did not sketch a hand in
_stiacciato_, because he had forgotten to provide for it in deeper
relief. But the result is that the quality of the different planes is
lost, and there are discrepancies in the relative values of distance.
The final outcome of _stiacciato_ is the art of the medallist. It is
said that Donatello made a medal, but nobody has determined which it
is. Michelozzo certainly made one of Bentivoglio, about 1445.[104]
This admirable art, which reached its perfection during Donatello's
lifetime, owes something of its progress to the pioneer of
_stiacciato_.

[Footnote 98: "Vita di Michael Angelo," Rome, 1553, p. 49.]

[Footnote 99: Victoria and Albert Museum, Charge to Peter. See p. 95.]

[Footnote 100: British Museum, Assyrian Saloon, Nos. 63-6.]

[Footnote 101: Bode, "Florentiner Bildhauer," p. 119.]

[Footnote 102: In the Museo Archeologico in the Castello, unnumbered.]

[Footnote 103: By Alfred Gilbert, R.A., belonging to the present Earl
of Lytton.]

[Footnote 104: See Armand, "Les Médailleurs Italiens," 1887, iii. p.
3.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

TOMB PLATE OF BISHOP PECCI

SIENA CATHEDRAL]


[Sidenote: Tombs of Pecci, Crivelli, and Others.]

The tomb of Giovanni de' Medici in San Lorenzo is interesting, and has
been ascribed to Donatello. There is no documentary authority for this
attribution, and on stylistic grounds it is untenable.[105] It is a
detached tomb, so common elsewhere, but of singular rarity in Italy.
The isolated tomb like this one, like that of Ilaria del Carretto, or
that of Pope Sixtus IV. in St. Peter's, has great advantages over the
tall upright monument _appliqué_ to a church wall. The latter is,
however, the ordinary type of the Renaissance. The free-standing tomb
can be seen from all aspects and lights. Although it must be
smaller--some of the later wall-tombs are fifty feet high--the
sculptor was obliged to keep his entire work well within the range of
vision, and had to rely on plastic art alone for success. Much
admirable sculpture, especially the effigies, has been lost by being
placed too high on some pretentious catafalque in relief against a
wall. The tomb of Giovanni, it is true, though standing in the centre
of the sacristy, is covered by a large marble slab, which is the
priest's table. It throws the tomb into dark shadow and makes it
difficult to see the carving. There are few tombs of important people
upon which so much trouble has been expended with so little result.
Donatello is also said to have made a tomb for the Albizzi, but it has
perished.[106] The tomb of Chellini in San Miniato, which tradition
ascribed to Donatello, is probably the work of Pagno di Lapo. The prim
and priggish Cardinal Accaiuoli in the Certosa of Florence does not
suggest Donatello's hand. Though conscientious and painstaking, the
work is without a spark of energy or conviction. These latter are
slab-tombs, flat plates fastened into the church pavements. We have
two authentic tombs of this character, on both of which Donatello has
signed his name. Had he not done so, we could never have established
his authorship of the marble slab-tomb of Archdeacon Crivelli in the
Church of Ara Coeli at Rome. It has been trampled by the feet of so
many generations, that all the features have been worn away; the
legend is wholly effaced in certain parts, and one corner has had to
be restored (though at some early date). But at best it cannot have
compared with Donatello's similar tomb of Bishop Pecci at Siena, and
one could quote numerous instances of equally good work by nameless
men. There is one close to the Crivelli marble itself, another in the
Pisa Baptistery, two in Santa Croce, and so forth. This kind of tomb
had to undergo rough usage. Everybody walked upon it: the deep relief
made it a receptacle for mud and rubbish. The effigy of the deceased,
as was probably intended by him, was humbled in the dust: _adhesit
pavimento_. The slabs got injured, and were often protected by low
tables with squat legs. Later on the slabs were raised enough to
prevent people standing on them, and thus became like free-standing
tombs; but it only made them more suitable for the sitting
requirements of the congregation. These sunken tombs, in fact, became
a nuisance. Although they were not carved in the very deep relief like
those one sees in Bavaria, they collected the dirt, and a papal brief
was issued to forbid them--_ut in ecclesiis nihil indecens
relinquatur_,[107] and the existing slabs were ordered to be removed.
Irretrievable damage must have resulted from this edict, but
fortunately it was disobeyed in Rome and ignored elsewhere. Nowadays
it has become the custom to place these slabs upright against the
walls, thus preventing further detrition. To Cavaliere D. Gnoli we owe
the preservation of the Crivelli tomb, which was in danger of complete
demolition.[108] By being embedded in a wall instead of lying in a
pavement this kind of monument, while losing its primitive position,
often gains in appearance. Crivelli, for instance, lies within an
architectural niche. His head rests on a pillow, the tassels of which
fall downwards towards his feet. When placed against a wall the need
for a pillow may vanish, but the meaning and use of the niche becomes
apparent, while the tassels no longer defy the laws of gravitation. He
becomes a standing figure at once, and the flying _putti_ above his
head assume a rational pose. It has been suggested that this and
similar tomb-plates were always intended to be placed upright, and
that the delicate ornamentation, of which some traces survive, would
never have been lavished on marble doomed to gradual destruction. No
general rule can be laid down, but undoubtedly most of these slabs
were meant to be recumbent. There are few cases where some
contradiction of _emplacement_ with pose cannot be detected. But two
examples may be noted where the slabs were clearly intended to be
placed in walls. An unnamed bishop at Bologna lies down, while at
either end of the slab an angel _stands_, at right angles to the
recumbent figure, holding a pall or curtain over the dead man.[109]
Signor Bardini also has an analogous marble effigy of a mitred bishop,
about 1430-40, who lies down while a friar stands behind his head.
These slabs were, therefore, obviously made for insertion in a wall,
and they are quite exceptional. The tomb-plate of Bishop Pecci in
Siena Cathedral is less open to objection on the ground of incongruity
between its position and the Bishop's pose. It is made of bronze, and
is set in the tessellated pavement of green, white and mauve marble.
Technically it is a triumph. Although the surface is considerably
worn, we have the sense of absolute calm and repose--in striking
contrast to the wearied look of Brancacci. The Bishop died on March 1,
1426; a few days previously he wrote his will, while he lay
dying--"_sanus mente licet corpore languens_"--and left careful
instructions as to his burial in an honourable part of the Cathedral
and how the exact cost of his funeral was to be met.[110] In a way the
figure resembles St. Louis, and Donatello probably had the help of
Michelozzo in the casting. The work itself is extremely good, and the
bronze has the rich colour which one finds most frequently in the
smaller provincial towns where time is allowed to create its own
_patina_. Donatello was a bold innovator, and the Tomb of Coscia,
though not the parent of the Renaissance theory of funeral monuments,
had marked influence upon its evolution. From the simple outdoor tombs
placed upon pillars, such as one principally finds north of the
Apennines, there issued a grander idea which culminated in the
monuments of the Scaligers at Verona. But Donatello reverted to the
earlier type of indoor tomb, and from his day the tendency to treat
them as an integral feature of mural and structural decoration
steadily increased. A host of sculptors filled the Tuscan churches
with those memorials which constitute one of their chief attractions.
These men imbued death with its most gentle aspect, concealing the
tragedy and sombre meaning of their work with gay arabesques and the
most living and lovable creations of their fancy. The _putti_, the
bright heraldry, the play of colour, and the opulence of decoration,
often distract one's eye from the effigy of the dead: and he, too, is
often smiling. He may represent the past: the rest of the tomb is
born of the present, and seldom--exception being made for a group of
tombs to which reference will be made later on[111]--seldom is there
much regard for the future. The dead at least are not asked to bury
their dead. They lie in state, surrounded by all that is most young
and blithe in life: it is a death which shows no indifference to the
life which is left behind. With them death is in the midst of life,
not life in the midst of death. Donatello was too severe for the later
Renaissance, and the brilliant sculptors who succeeded him lost
influence in their turn. With the development of sculpture, which
during Michael Angelo's lifetime acquired a technical skill to which
Donatello never aspired, the tomb became a vehicle for ostentation and
display; and there was a reaction towards the harsher symbols of
death. Instead of the quiet mourner who really mourns, we have the
strident and professional weeper--a parody of sorrow. Tier upon tier
these prodigious monuments rise, covering great spaces of wall,
decorated with skulls and skeletons, with Time carrying his scythe,
with negro caryatides, and with apathetic or showy models masquerading
as the cardinal virtues. The effigy itself is often perched up so high
as to be invisible, or sitting in a ridiculous posture. "Princes'
images on their tombs," says Bosola in Webster's play, "do not lie as
they were wont, seeming to pray up to heaven; but with their hands
under their cheeks, as if they had died of toothache."[112] Venice
excelled in this rotund and sweltering sculpture. Yet it cannot be
wholly condemned. Though artificial, theatrical and mundane, its
technical supremacy cannot be denied. The amazing ease with which
these huge monuments are contrived, and the absolute sense of mastery
shown by the sculptor over the material are qualities too rare to be
lightly overlooked. Whatever we may think of the artist, our
admiration is commanded by the craftsman.

[Footnote 105: Wreaths and _putti_ form its decoration, and though
Donatellesque, they are not by Donatello. This was pointed out as
early as 1819. See "Monumenti Sepolcrali della Toscana," p. 28.]

[Footnote 106: Bocchi, 354.]

[Footnote 107: Bull., "Cum primum," § 6, "_et ut in ecclesiis nihil
indecens relinquatur, iidem provideant, ut capsæ omnes, et deposita,
seu alia cadaverum, conditoria super terram existentia omnino
amoveantur, pro ut alias statutum fuit, et defunctorum corpora in
tumbis profundis, infra terram collocentur_." Bullarium, 1566, vol.
iv., part ii., p. 285. For the whole question of the evolution of
these tombs, see Dr. von Lichtenberg's valuable book, "Das Porträt an
Grabdenkmalen," Strassburg, 1902.]

[Footnote 108: See "Archivio Storico dell' Arte," 1888, p. 24, &c.]

[Footnote 109: In Santo Stefano, Cortile di Pilato.]

[Footnote 110: "Misc. Storica Senese," 1893, p. 30.]

[Footnote 111: See p. 171.]

[Footnote 112: From the Duchess of Malfi, quoted in Symonds' "Fine
Arts," p. 114.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: The Second Visit to Rome.]

During the year 1433, when Florence enjoyed the luxury of driving
Cosimo de' Medici into exile, Donatello went to Rome in order to
advise Simone Ghini about the tomb of Pope Martin V.--_temporum suorum
filicitas_, as the epitaph says.[113] This visit to Rome, which is not
contested, like the visit thirty years earlier, did not last long, and
certainly did not divert Donatello from the line he had struck out. At
this moment the native art of Rome was colourless. A generation later
it became classical, and then lapsed into decadence. The number of
influences at work was far smaller than would at first be imagined. It
is generally assumed that Rome was the home of classical sculpture.
But early in the fifteenth century Rome must have presented a scene of
desolation. The city had long been a quarry. Under Vespasian the
Senate had to pass a decree against the demolition of buildings for
the purpose of getting the stone.[114] Rome was plundered by her
emperors. She was looted by Alaric, Genseric, Wittig and Totila in
days when much of her art remained _in situ_. She was plundered by her
Popes. Statues were used as missiles; her marble was exported all over
the world--to the Cathedrals of Orvieto and Pisa, even to the Abbey
Church of Westminster. Suger, trying to get marble columns for his
church, looked longingly at those in the baths of Diocletian, a
natural and obvious source, though happily he stole them
elsewhere.[115] The vandalism proceeded at an incredible pace. Pius
II. issued a Bull in 1462 to check it; in 1472 Sixtus IV. issued
another. Pius, however, quarried largely between the Capitol and the
Colosseum. The Forum was treated as an ordinary quarry which was let
out on contract, subject to a rental equivalent to one-third of the
output. But in 1433, and still more during the first visit, there was
comparatively little sculpture which would lead Donatello to classical
ideas. Poggio, writing just before Donatello's second visit, says
he sees almost nothing to remind him of the ancient city.[116]
He speaks of a statue with a complete head as if that were very
remarkable--almost the only statue he mentions at all. Ghiberti
describes two or three antique statues with such enthusiasm that one
concludes he was familiar with very few. In fact, before the great
digging movement which enthralled the Renaissance, antique sculpture
was rare. But little of Poggio's collection came from Rome: Even
Lorenzo de' Medici got most of his from the provinces. A century later
Sabba del Castiglione complains of having to buy a Donatello owing to
the difficulty of getting good antiques.[117] Rome had been devastated
by cupidity and neglect as much as by fire and sword. "Ruinarum urbis
Romæ descriptio" is the title of one of Poggio's books. Alberti says
that in his time he had seen 1200 ruined churches in the city.[118]
Bramantino made drawings of some of them.[119] Pirro Ligorio, an
architect of some note, gives his recipe for making lime from antique
statues--so numerous had they become. But much remained buried before
that time, _sotterrate nelle Rovine d'Italia_,[120] and Vasari
explains that Brunellesco was delighted with a classical urn at
Cortona, about which Donatello had told him, because such a thing was
rare in those times, antique objects not having been dug up in such
quantities as during his own day.[121] But the passion for classical
learning developed quickly, and was followed by the desire for
classical art. Dante had scarcely realised the art of antiquity,
though more was extant in 1300 than in 1400. Petrarch, who was more
sympathetic towards it, could scarcely translate an elementary
inscription. From the growing desire for knowledge came the search for
tangible relics: but love of classical art was founded on sentiment
and tradition. As regards the sculptors themselves, their art was less
influenced by antiquity than were the arts of poetry, oratory and
prose. While Rossellino, Desiderio, Verrocchio and Benedetto da Maiano
maintained their individuality, the indigenous literature of Tuscany
waned. Sculpture retained its freedom longer than the literary arts,
and when the latter recovered their national character sculpture
relapsed in their place into classicism. From early times sculptors
had, of course, learned what they could from classical exemplars.
Niccola Pisano copied at least four classical motives. There was no
plagiarism; it was a warm tribute on his part, and at that time a
notable achievement to have copied at all. But the imitation of
antiquity was carried to absurd lengths. Ghiberti, who was a literary
man, says that Andrea Pisano lived in the 410th Olympiad.[122] But
Ghiberti remained a Renaissance sculptor, and his classical
affectation is less noticeable in his statues than in his prose.
Filippo Strozzi went so far as to emancipate his favourite slave, a
"_grande nero_," in his will.[123] But Gothic art died hard. The
earlier creeds of art lingered on in the byways, and the Renaissance
was flourishing long before Gothic ideas had completely perished--that
is to say, Renaissance in its widest meaning, that of reincarnated
love of art and letters: if interpreted narrowly the word loses its
deep significance, for the Renaissance engendered forms which had
never existed before. But it must be remembered that in sculpture
classical ideas preceded classical forms. Averlino, or Filarete, as a
classical whim led him to be called, began the bronze doors of St.
Peter's just before Donatello's visit. They are replete with classical
ideas, ignoble and fantastic, but the art is still Renaissance.
Comparatively little classical art was then visible, and its
infallibility was not accepted until many years later, when Rome was
being ransacked for her hidden store of antiquities. Statues were
exhumed from every heap of ruins, generally in fragments: not a dozen
free-standing marble statues have come down to us in their pristine
condition. The quarrymen were beset by students and collectors anxious
to obtain inscriptions. Traders in forgeries supplied what the diggers
could not produce. Classical art became a fetish.[124] The noble
qualities of antiquity were blighted by the imitators, whose inventive
powers were atrophied, while their skill and knowledge left nothing to
be desired. Excluding the Cosmati, Rome was the mother of no period or
movement of art excepting the Rococo. As for Donatello himself, he was
but slightly influenced by classical motives. His sojourn in Rome was
short, his time fully occupied; he was forty-seven years old and had
long passed the most impressionable years of his life. He was a noted
connoisseur, and on more than one occasion his opinion on a question
of classical art was eagerly sought. But, so far as his own art was
concerned, classical influences count for little. His architectural
ideas were only classical through a Renaissance medium. When a patron
gave him a commission to copy antique gems, he did his task faithfully
enough, but without zest and with no ultimate progress in a similar
direction. When making a portrait he would decorate the sitter's
helmet or breastplate with the cameo which actually adorned it. With
one exception, classical art must be sought in his detail, and only
in the detail of work upon which the patron's advice could be suitably
offered and accepted. Donatello may be compared with the great
sculptors of antiquity, but not to the extent of calling him their
descendant. Raffaelle Mengs was entitled to regret that the other
Raffaelle did not live in the days of Phidias.[125] Flaxman was
justified in expressing his opinion that some of Donatello's work
could be placed beside the best productions of ancient Greece without
discredit.[126] These _obiter dicta_ do not trespass on the domain of
artistic genealogy. But it is inaccurate to say, for instance, that
the St. George is animated by Greek nobility,[127] since in this
statue that quality (whether derived from Gothic or Renaissance
ideals) cannot possibly have come from a classical source.
Baldinucci is on dangerous ground in speaking of Donatello as
"_emulando mirabilmente la perfezione degli antichissimi scultori
greci_"[128]--the writer's acquaintance with archaic Greek sculpture
may well have been small! We need not quarrel with Gori for calling
Donatello the Florentine Praxiteles; but he is grossly misleading in
his statement that Donatello took the greatest pains to copy the art
of the ancients.[129] Donatello may be the mediæval complement of
Phidias, but he is not his artistic offspring.

[Footnote 113: It is a bronze slab, admirably wrought and preserved,
in S. Giovanni Laterano. Were it not for an exuberance of decoration,
one might say that Donatello was responsible for it; the main lines
certainly harmonise with his work. Simone Ghini was mistaken by Vasari
for Donatello's somewhat problematical brother Simone.]

[Footnote 114: See Codex. Just. Leg. 2. Cod. de ædif. privatis. A
similar law at Herculaneum had forbidden people to make more money by
breaking up a house than they paid for the house itself, under penalty
of being fined double the original outlay. This shows the extent of
speculative destruction. Reinesius, "Synt. Inscript. Antiq.," 475, No.
2.]

[Footnote 115: See his Libellus in "Rer. Gall. Script.," xiv. 313.]

[Footnote 116: _Nihil fere recognoscat quod priorem urbem
repræsentet_, in "De Varietate fortunæ urbis Romæ." Nov. Thes. Antiq.
Rom., i. 502.]

[Footnote 117: "Ricordi," 1544. No. 109, p. 51.]

[Footnote 118: Written about 1450. "De re ædificatoria." Paris ed.
1553, p. 165.]

[Footnote 119: _Cf._ Plate 49 in "Le Rovine di Roma." "Tempio
circolare." Written beside it is "_Questo sie uno tempio lo quale e
Atiuero_ (i.e., _che è presso al Tevere_) _dove se chauaue li prede
antigha mente_ (i.e., _si cavavano le pietre anticamente_)."]

[Footnote 120: Vasari, "Proemio," i. 212.]

[Footnote 121: _Cosa allora rara, non essendosi dissotterata quella
abbondanza che si è fatta ne' tempi nostri_, i. 203.]

[Footnote 122: "2nd Commentary," in Vasari, I. xxviii.]

[Footnote 123: Gaye, i. 360.]

[Footnote 124: _Cf._ the action of the Directory in year vi. of the
French Republic. They ordered the statues looted in Italy to be
paraded in Paris--hoping to find the clue to ancient supremacy. Louis
David pointedly observed, "_La vue ... formera peut-être des savans,
des Winckelmann: mais des artistes, non_."]

[Footnote 125: "Works," 1796, i. 151.]

[Footnote 126: "Lectures," 1838, p. 248.]

[Footnote 127: Semper, p. 93.]

[Footnote 128: Ed. 1768, p. 74.]

[Footnote 129: "Donatellus, qui primum omnium vetustis monumentis
mirifice delectatus est, eaque imitari ac probe exprimere in suis
operibus adsidue studuit."--"Dactyliotheca Smithiana," 1768, II. p.
cxxvi.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

TABERNACLE

ST. PETER'S, ROME]


[Illustration: THE CHARGE TO PETER

LONDON]


[Sidenote: Work at Rome.]

Up till a few years ago the most important work Donatello made in Rome
was unknown. We were aware that he had made a tabernacle, but all
record of it was lost, until Herr Schmarsow identified it in
1886.[130] It was probably made for the Church of Santa Maria della
Febbre,[131] and was transported to St. Peter's when Santa Maria was
converted into a sacristy. The tabernacle is now in the Sacristy of
the Canons, surrounded by sham flowers and tawdry decoration, which
reduce its charms to a minimum. Moreover, the miraculous painting of
the Madonna and Child which fills the centrepiece--having, perhaps,
replaced a metal grille or marble relief, has been so frequently
restored that a discordant element is introduced. The tabernacle is
about six feet high; it is made of rather coarse Travestine marble,
and in several parts shows indications of the hand of an assistant. It
has suffered in removal; there are two places where the work has been
repaired, and the medallion in the lower frieze has been filled with
modern mosaic; otherwise it is in good order. It is essentially an
architectural work, but the number of figures introduced has softened
the hard lines of the construction, giving it plenty of life. Four
little angels, rather stumpy and ill-drawn, are sitting on the
lower plinth. Above them rise the main outer columns which support
the upper portion of the tabernacle, and enclose the central opening,
where the picture is now fixed. At the base of these columns there
are two groups of winged children, three on either side, looking
inwards towards the central feature of the composition. They
bend forward reverently with their hands joined in prayer and
adoration--admirable children, full of shyness and deference. The
upper part of the tabernacle, supported on very plain corbels, is
occupied by a broad relief, at either end of which stand other winged
angels, more boyish and confident than those below. This relief
is, perhaps, Donatello's masterpiece in _stiacciato_. It is the
Entombment, his first presentment of those intensely vivid scenes
which were so often reproduced during his later years. Christ is just
being laid in the tomb by two solemn old men with flowing beards, St.
Joseph and St. Peter. The Virgin kneels as the body is lowered into
the tomb. Behind her is St. Mary Magdalene, her arms extended, her
hair dishevelled; scared by the frenzy of her grief. To the right St.
John turns away with his face buried in his hands. The whole
composition--striking in contrast to the quiet and peaceful figures
below--is treated with caution and reserve. But we detect the germ of
the pulpits of San Lorenzo, where the rough sketch in clay could
transmit all its fire and energy to the finished bronze. In this case
Donatello not only felt the limitations of the marble, but he was not
yet inclined to take the portrayal of tragedy beyond a certain point.
The moderation of this relief entitles it to higher praise than we can
give to some of his later work. The other panel in _stiacciato_ made
about this time belonged to the Salviati family.[132] Technically the
carving is inferior to that in St. Peter's, and it may be that in
certain parts, especially, for instance, round the heads of Christ
and one of the Apostles, the work is unfinished. Christ is seated on
the clouds, treated like those on the Brancacci panel, and hands the
keys to St. Peter. The Apostles stand by, the Virgin kneels in the
foreground, and on the left there are two angels like those on the
tabernacle. Trees are lightly sketched in, and no halos are employed.
The work is disappointing, for it is carved in such extraordinarily
low-relief that parts of it are scarcely recognisable on first
inspection; the marble is also rather defective. As a composition--and
this can best be judged in the photograph--the Charge to Peter is
admirable. The balance is preserved with skill, while the figures are
grouped in a natural and easy fashion. The row of Apostles to the left
shows a rendering of human perspective which Mantegna, who liked to
make his figures contribute to the perspective of the architecture
around them, never surpassed. This panel, in spite of Bocchi's praise,
shares one obvious demerit with the relief in St. Peter's. The Virgin,
who kneels with outstretched hands as she gazes upwards to the Christ,
is almost identical with a figure on the Entombment. She is ugly, with
no redeeming feature. The pose is awkward, the drapery graceless, the
contour thick, and her face, peering out of the thick veil, is
altogether displeasing. One has no right to look for beauty in
Donatello's statues of adults: character is what he gives. But neither
does one expect this kind of vagary. There is great merit in the
plaintive and wistful ugliness of the Zuccone: Here the ugliness is
wanton, and therefore inexcusable. The Crivelli tomb and the Baptist
in San Giovanni Fiorentino have been already described. There were
other products of Donatello's visit to Rome, but they are now lost.
Tradition still maintains that the wooden Baptist in S. Giovanni
Laterano is his work. But it cannot possibly be by him, though it may
be a later copy of a fifteenth-century original. Curiously enough,
there is another Baptist in the same church which is Donatellesque in
character and analogous in some respects to the St. John at Siena,
namely, the large bronze statue signed by Valadier and dated 1772.
Valadier was a professional copyist, some of his work being in the
Louvre. Where he got the design for this Baptist we do not know; but
it is certainly not typical of the late eighteenth century. Titi
mentions a head in Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, and a medallion portrait
of Canon Morosini in Santa Maria Maggiore.[133] Neither of them can be
found.

[Footnote 130: See Schmarsow, p. 32.]

[Footnote 131: See "Arch. Storico dell' Arte," 1888, p. 24.]

[Footnote 132: Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 7629, 1861. Bocchi
says: "_Un quadro di marmo di mano di Donatello di basso relievo: dove
è effigiato quando da le chiavi Cristo a S. Pietro. Estimata molto da
gli artefici questa opera: la quale per invenzione è rara, e per
disegno maravigliosa. Molto è commendata la figura di Cristo, e la
prontezza che si scorge nel S. Pietro. E parimente la Madonna posta in
ginocchione, la quale in atto affetuoso ha sembiante mirabile e
divoto_," p. 372.]

[Footnote 133: "Ammaestramento Utile," 1686, p. 141. "_Una testa nel
deposito a mano destra della Porta Maggiore, è scoltura di Donatello
Fiorentino._" In Chapel of Paul V., Sta. M. Maggiore: "_In terra in
una lapide vi è di profilo la figura del Canonico Morosini, opera di
Donatello famoso scultore e architetto._" _Ibid._ p. 241.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: The Medici Medallions.]

The Medici did not remain in exile long, and their return to Florence
marks an epoch in the artistic as well as the political history of
Tuscany. From this moment the sway of the private collector and patron
began. Gradually the great churches and corporations ceased giving
orders on the grand scale, for much of the needful decoration was by
then completed. By the middle of the century patronage was almost
wholly vested in the magnates of commerce and politics: if a chapel
were painted or a memorial statue set up, in most cases the artist
worked for the donor, and not for the church authorities. The
monumental type of sculpture became more rare, _bric à brac_ more
common. Well-known men like Donatello received the old kind of
commission to the end of their lives, while younger men, though fully
occupied, were seldom entrusted with comprehensive orders. Even
Michael Angelo was more dependent on the Pope than upon the Church.
Among the earliest commissions given by the Medici after their return
was an order for marble copies of eight antique gems. These were
placed in the courtyard of their Florentine house, now called the
Palazzo Riccardi. They are colossal in size, and represent much labour
and no profit to art. Nothing is more suitably reproduced on a cameo
than a good piece of sculpture; but the engraved gem is the last
source to which sculpture should turn for inspiration. Donatello had
to enlarge what had already been reduced; it was like copying a
corrupt text. The size of these medallions accentuates faults which
were unnoticed in the dainty gem. The intaglio of Diomede and the
Palladium (now in Naples) is too small to show the fault which is so
glaring in the marble relief, where Diomede is in a position which it
is impossible for a human being to maintain. But the relief is
admirably carved: nothing could be better than the straining sinews of
the thigh; and it is of interest as being the only one which is
related to any other work of the sculptor. The head of one of the
angels in the Brancacci Assumption is taken from this Diomede or from
some other version of it. A similar treatment is found in Madame
André's relief of a young warrior. It has been pointed out that some
of the gems from which these medallions were made did not come into
the Medici Collections until many years later.[134] Cosimo may have
owned casts of the originals, or Donatello may have copied them in
Rome, for they belonged at this time to the Papal glyptothek, from
which they were subsequently bought. The subjects of these roundels
are Ulysses and Athena, a faun carrying Bacchus, two incidents of
Bacchus and Ariadne, a centaur, Dædalus and Icarus, a prisoner before
his victor, and the Diomede. Gems became very popular and expensive: a
school of engravers grew up who copied, invented, and forged.
Carpaccio introduced them into his pictures,[135] and Botticelli used
them so freely that they almost became the ruling element of
decoration in the "Calumny." Gems are incidentally introduced in
Donatello's bust of the so-called Young Gattamelata, and on Goliath's
helmet below the Bronze David. The Medusa head occurs on the base of
the Judith, on the Turin Sword hilt, and on the armour of General
Gattamelata. So much of Donatello's work has perished that it is
almost annoying to see how well these Medici medallions are
preserved--the work in which his individuality was allowed little
play, and in which he can have taken no pride.

[Footnote 134: Molinier, "Les Plaquettes," 1886, p. xxvi.]

[Footnote 135: _Cf._ St. Ursula, Accademia, Venice, No. 574.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

THE BRONZE DAVID

BARGELLO, FLORENCE]


[Sidenote: The Bronze David.]

According to Vasari, the Bronze David was made for Cosimo before the
exile of the Medici, and consequently previous to Donatello's second
journey to Rome. It was removed from the courtyard of the palace to
the Palazzo Pubblico, where it remained for many years. Doni mentions
it as being there in 1549,[136] and soon afterwards it was replaced by
Verrocchio's fountain of the Boy squeezing the Dolphin. It is now in
the Bargello. The base has been lost. Albertini says it was made of
variegated marbles.[137] Vasari says it was a simple column.[138] It
has been suggested that the marble pillar now supporting the Judith
belonged to the David, but the David is even less fitted to this
ill-conceived and pedantic shaft than Judith herself. The David soon
acquired popularity; the French envoy, Pierre de Rohan, wanted a copy
of it. It was certainly a remarkable innovation, being probably the
first free-standing nude statue made in Italy for a thousand years.
There had been countless nude figures in relief, but the David was
intended to be seen from every side of Cosimo's _cortile_. There was
no experimental stage with Donatello; his success was immediate and
indeed conclusive. David is a stripling. He stands over the head of
Goliath, a sword in one hand and a stone in the other, wearing his
helmet, a sort of sun-hat in bronze which is decorated with a chaplet
of leaves; below his feet is a wreath of bay. It is a consistent study
in anatomy. The David is perhaps sixteen years old, agile and supple,
with a hand which is big relative to the forearm, as nature ordains.
The back is bony and rather angular; the torso is brilliantly wrought,
with a purity of outline and a _morbidezza_ which made the artists in
Vasari's time believe the figure had been moulded from life. One might
break the statue into half a dozen pieces, and every fragment would
retain its vitality and significance. The limbs are alert and full of
young strength, with plenty more held in reserve: it is heroic in all
respects except dimension. The face is clear cut, and each feature
is rendered with precision. The expression is one of dreamy
contemplation as he looks downwards on the spoils and proof of
conquest. David hath slain his tens of thousands! Finally the quality
of the statue is enhanced by the care with which the bronze has been
chiselled. Goliath's helmet, and David's greaves, on which the _fleur
de lys florencée_ has been damascened, are decorated with unfailing
tact. The embellishment is in itself a pleasure to the eye, but it is
prudently contained within its legitimate sphere; for Donatello would
not allow the accessory to invade the statue itself, which is the
chief fault of the rival David by Verrocchio. Donatello's statue marks
an epoch in the study of anatomy. It is a genuine interpretation of a
very perfect piece of humanity; but his knowledge compared with that
of his successors was empiric. Leonardo's subtle skill was based upon
dissection. Michael Angelo likewise studied from the human corpse,
distasteful as he found the process. Donatello had no such scientific
training: he had no help from the surgeon or the hospital, hence
mistakes; his doubt, for instance, about the connection between ribs
and pectoral bones was never resolved. But, notwithstanding this lack
of technical data, the Bronze David has a distinction which is absent
in statues made by far more learned men. Donatello's intuition
supplied what one would not willingly exchange for the most exact
science of the specialist. The David was an innovation, but the phrase
must be guarded. It was only an innovation so far as it was a
free-standing study from the nude. Nothing is more misleading than the
commonplace that Christianity was opposed to the representation of the
nude in its proper place. The early Church, no doubt, underwent a
prolonged reaction against all that it might be assumed to connote;
one might collect many quotations from patristic literature to this
effect. But the very articles of the Christian Creed militated against
the ultimate scorn of the human body: the doctrine of the Resurrection
alone was enough to give it more sanctity than could be derived from
all the polytheism of antiquity. The Baptism of Christ, the descent
into Limbo, and the Crucifixion itself, were scenes from which the use
of drapery had to be less or more discarded. The porches and frontals
of Gothic churches abounded in nude statuary, from scenes in the
Garden of Eden down to the Last Judgment. Abuses crept in, of course,
and the Faith protested against them. The advancing standard of
comfort and, no doubt, a steadily deteriorating climate, diminished
the everyday familiarity with undraped limbs. Clothes became numerous
and more normal; the artist came to be regarded as the purveyor of
what had ceased to be of natural occurrence. He was encouraged by the
connoisseur, lay and cleric, who found his literature in antiquity,
and then demanded classical forms in his art. The nude was arbitrarily
employed: there was no biblical authority for a naked David, and
Donatello was therefore among the first to err in this respect. The
taste for this kind of thing sprang from humanism, and throve with
hellenism, till a counter-reaction came suddenly in the sixteenth
century. Michael Angelo was hotly attacked for his excessive study
from the nude as prejudicial to morals.[139] Ammanati wrote an abject
apology to the Accademia del Disegno for the very frank nudity of his
statues.[140] Some of the work of Bandinelli and Bronzino had to be
removed. What was a rational and healthy protest has survived in
grotesque and ill-fitting drapery made of tin--very negation of
propriety. Although needed for biblical imagery, the nude in Italy was
always exotic; in Greece it was indigenous. From the time of Homer
there had been a worship of physical perfection. The Palæstra, the
cultivation of athletics in a nation of soldiers, the religions of the
country, with its favourable atmosphere, climate, and stone, all
combined to make the nude a normal aspect of human life. But it was
not the sole inspiration of their art: in Sparta, where there was most
nude there was least art; in Italy, when there was worst art there was
most nude.

[Footnote 136: "_... una colonna nel mezzo dove è un Davitte di
Donatello dignissimo._" Letter to Alberto Lollio, 17. viii. 1549,
Bottari, iii. 341.]

[Footnote 137: _Giù abasso è Davit di bronzo sopra la colonna fine di
marmo variegato._ "Memoriale."]

[Footnote 138: "Life of Bandinelli," x. 301.]

[Footnote 139: "Due dialogi di Giovanni Andrea Gilio da Fabriano,"
1564; a tiresome and discursive tirade.]

[Footnote 140: 22. viii. 1582. Reprinted in Bottari, ii. 529.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

CANTORIA

IN OPERA DEL DUOMO, FLORENCE]


[Sidenote: Donatello and Childhood.]

Michael Angelo strove to attain the universal form. His world was
peopled with Titans, and he realised his ambition of portraying
generic humanity: not, indeed, by making conventional, but by
eliminating everything that was not typical. The earliest plastic art
took clay and moulded the human form; the next achievement was to make
specific man--the portrait; lastly, to achieve what was universal--the
type. The progress was from man, to man in particular, and ultimately
to man in general. There was a final stage when the typical lost its
type without reverting to the specific, to the portrait. The
successors of Michael Angelo were among the most skilful craftsmen who
ever existed; but their knowledge only bore the fruit of unreality.
Donatello did not achieve the typical except in his children: it was
only in children that Michael Angelo failed. He missed this supreme
opportunity; those on the roof of the Sistine Chapel are solemn and
grown old with care: children without childhood. With Donatello all is
different. His greatness and title to fame largely rest upon his
typical childhood: his sculpture bears eloquent witness to the closest
observation of all its varying and changeful moods. Others have
excelled in this or that interpretation of child-life: Greuze with his
sentimentalism, the Dutch painters with their stolidity. In Velasquez
every child is the scion of some Royal House, in Murillo they are all
beggars. They are too often stupid in Michelozzo: in Andrea della
Robbia they are always sweet and winsome; Pigalle's children know too
much. Donatello alone grasped the whole psychology. He watched the
coming generation, and foresaw all that it might portend: tragedy and
comedy, labour and sorrow, work and play--plenty of play; and every
problem of life is reflected and made younger by his chisel. How far
the sculptors of the fifteenth century employed classical ideas is not
easily determined. There was, however, one classical form which was
widely used, namely, the flying _putti_ holding a wreath or
coat-of-arms between them: we find it on the frieze of the St. Louis
niche, and it is repeated on Judith's dress. The wreath or garland, of
which the Greeks were so fond, became a favourite motive for the
Renaissance mantelpiece. The classical _amoretti_, of which many
versions in bronze existed, were also frequently copied. But there was
one radical difference between the children of antiquity and those of
the Renaissance. Though children were introduced on to classical
sarcophagi and so forth, it is impossible to say that it was for the
sake of their youth. There are genii in plenty; and in the imps which
swarm over the emblematic figure of the Nile in the Vatican the
sculptor shows no love or respect for childhood. There is no child on
the Parthenon frieze, excepting a Cupid, who has really no claim to be
reckoned as such. Donatello could not have made a relief 150 yards
long without introducing children, whether their presence were
justified or not. He would probably have overcrowded the composition
with their young forms. Whether right or wrong, he uses them
arbitrarily, as simple specimens of pure joyous childhood. Antique
sculpture, too, had its arbitrary and conventional adjuncts--the Satyr
and the Bacchic attendants; but how dreary that the vacant spaces in a
relief should have to rely upon what is half-human or offensive--the
avowedly inhuman gargoyles of the thirteenth century are infinitely to
be preferred. Donatello was possessed by the sheer love of childhood:
with him they are boys, _fanciulli ignudi_,[141] very human boys,
which, though winged and stationed on a font, were boys first and
angels afterwards. And he overcame the immense technical difficulties
which childhood presents. The model is restive and the form is
immature, the softness of nature has to be rendered in the hardest
material. The lines are inconsequent, and the limbs do not yet show
the muscles on which plastic art can usually depend. Nothing requires
more deftness than to give elasticity to a form which has no external
sign of vigour. So many sculptors failed to master this initial
difficulty--Verrocchio, for instance. He made the bronze fountain in
the Palazzo Pubblico, and an equally fine statue of similar dimensions
now belonging to M. Gustave Dreyfus. Both have vivacity and movement,
but both have also a fat stubby appearance; the flesh has the
consistency of pudding, and though soft and velvety in surface is
without the inner meaning of the children on the Cantoria. In this
work, where Donatello has carved some three dozen children, we have a
series of instantaneous photographs. Nobody else had enough knowledge
or courage to make rigid bars of children's legs: here they swing on
pivots from the hip-joint. It is the true picture of life, rendered
with superlative skill and _bravura_. But Donatello's children serve a
purpose, if only that of decoration. At Padua they form a little
orchestra to accompany the duets. The singing angels there are among
the most charming of the company; and whether intentionally or not,
they give the impression of having forgotten the time, or of being a
little puzzled by the music-book! But Donatello fails to express the
exquisite modulation by which Luca della Robbia almost gives actual
sound to his Cantoria: where one sees the swelling throat, the
inflated lungs, the effort of the higher notes, and the voice falling
to reach those which are deep. Luca's children, it is true, are bigger
and older; but in this respect he was unsurpassed, even by painters
whose medium should have placed them beyond rivalry in such a respect.
The choir of Piero della Francesca's Nativity is so well contrived
that one can distinguish the alto from the tenor; but Luca was able to
do even more. He gives cadence, rhythm and expression where others did
no more than represent the voice. Donatello's dancing children are
more important than his musicians. He was able to give free vein to
his fancy. We have flights of uncontrollable children, romping and
rioting, dashing to and fro, playing and laughing as they pass about
garlands among them. And their self-reliance is worth noticing;
they are absorbed in their dance--children dance rather heavily--and
only a few of them look outwards. There is no self-consciousness, no
appeal to the spectator: they are immensely busy, and enjoy life to
the full. Then we have a more demure type of childhood: they are
shield-bearers on the Gattamelata monument, or occupy an analogous
position on the lower part of the Cantoria. Others hold the cartel or
epitaph as on the Coscia tomb. And again Donatello introduces children
as pure decoration. The triangular base of the Judith, for instance,
and the bronze capital which supports the Prato pulpit, have childhood
for their sole motive. He smuggles children on to the croziers of St.
Louis and Bishop Pecci: they are the supporters of Gattamelata's
saddle: they decorate the vestments of San Daniele. They share the
tragedy of the Pietà, and we have them in his reliefs. The entire
frieze of the pulpits of San Lorenzo is simply one long row of
children--some two hundred in all.

[Footnote 141: Contract with Domopera of Siena. Payment for wax, for
making the bronze figures for the Baptistery. 16, iv. 1428. Lusini,
38.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

CANTORIA (DETAIL)

FLORENCE]


[Sidenote: The Cantoria.]

The Cantoria, or organ-loft, of the Florentine Cathedral was ordered
soon after Donatello's return from Rome, and was erected about 1441.
It was placed over one of the Sacristy doors, corresponding in
position with Luca della Robbia's cantoria on the opposite side of the
choir. The ill-fortune which dispersed the Paduan altar and
Donatello's work for the façade likewise caused the removal of this
gallery. Late in the seventeenth century a royal marriage was
solemnised, for which an orchestra of unusual numbers was required,
and the two _cantorie_ were removed as inadequate. The large brackets
remained _in situ_ for some time, but were afterwards taken away also.
The two galleries have now been re-erected at either end of the chief
room of the Opera del Duomo. But the size of the galleries is
considerable, and they occupy so much of the end walls to which they
are fixed, that it is impossible to see the sides or outer panels of
either cantoria. In the case of Luca's gallery, the side panels have
been replaced by facsimiles, and the originals can be minutely
examined, being only four or five feet from the ground, and very
suggestive they are. As the side panels of Donatello's gallery are
equally invisible in their present position they might also be brought
down to the eye level. Comparison with Luca's work would then be still
more simplified. But though in a trying light, and too low down, the
sculpture shows that it was Donatello who gave the more careful
attention to the conditions under which the work would be seen. The
delicacy and grace of Luca's choir make Donatello's boys look coarse
and rough-hewn. But in the dim Cathedral, where Donatello's children
would appear bold and vivacious, the others would look insipid and
weak. Moreover, the lower tier of Luca's panels beneath the projection
and enclosed by the broad brackets, would have been in such a subdued
light that some of the heads in low-relief would have been scarcely
emphasised at all. In reconstructing Donatello's gallery an error has
been made by which a long band of mosaic runs along the whole length
of the relief, above the children's heads. M. Reymond has pointed out
that the ground level should have been raised in order to prevent what
Donatello would undoubtedly have avoided, namely, a blank and
meaningless stretch of mosaic.[142] M. Reymond's brilliant
suggestion about a similar point in regard to the other cantoria, a
criticism which has been verified in a remarkable manner, entitles his
suggestion to great weight. The angles of the cantoria where the side
panels join the main relief lack finish: something like the pilasters
which cover the angles of the Judith base are required. As for the
design, the gallery made by Luca della Robbia has an advantage over
Donatello's in that the figures are not placed behind a row of
columns. There is something tantalising in the fact that the most
boisterous and roguish of all the troop is concealed by a pillar of
spangled white and gold. These pillars were perhaps needed to break
the long line of the relief: but they have no such significance, as,
for instance, the row of pillars on the Saltarello tomb,[143] behind
which the Bishop's effigy lies--a barrier between the living and the
dead, across which the attendant angels can drop the curtain.
Donatello's gallery is, perhaps, over-decorated. There is less gilding
now than formerly, and the complex ornament does not materially
interfere with the broad features of the design: but a little more
reserve would not have been amiss.

[Footnote 142: Reymond, I., p. 107.]

[Footnote 143: By Nino Pisano, in Sta. Caterina, Pisa.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

THE PRATO PULPIT]


[Sidenote: The Prato Pulpit.]

The second work in which Donatello took his inspiration exclusively
from childhood is at Prato. It is an external pulpit, fixed at the
southern angle of the Cathedral façade, and employed to display the
most famous relic possessed by the town, namely, the girdle of the
Virgin. The first contract was made as early as 1428 with Donatello
and Michelozzo, _industriosi maestri_, to whom careful measurements
were given.[144] The sculptors promised to finish the work by
September 1, 1429. Five years later, there was still no pulpit, and
having vainly invoked the aid of Cosimo, they finally sent to Rome,
where Donatello had by then gone, and a revised contract was made with
the industrious sculptors, though Michelozzo is not mentioned by
name.[145] The work was finished in about four years, and within three
weeks of signing the new contract one of the reliefs was completed; it
may, of course, have been already begun. Its success was immediate.
"All say with one accord that never has such a work of art been seen
before;" and the writer of the entertaining letter from which this
eulogy is quoted goes on to say that Donatello is of good disposition;
that such men are not found every day, and that he had better be
encouraged by a little money.[146] The Prato pulpit has seven marble
reliefs on mosaic grounds, separated by twin pilasters: there are
thirty-two children in all.[147] It is a most attractive work,
cleverly placed against the decorous little Cathedral and not
surrounded by sculpture of the first order with which to make
invidious comparisons. But beside the cantoria it is almost
insignificant. The Prato children dance too, but without the perennial
spring; they have plenty of movement, but seem apt to stumble. They do
not scamper along with the feverish enthusiasm of the other children:
they must get very tired. Moreover, several of the panels are
confused. They are, of course, crowded, for Donatello liked crowds,
especially for his children; but his crowds were well marshalled and
the individual figures which composed them were not allowed to
suffer by their surroundings anatomically. The Prato children belong
to a chubby and robust type. They have a tendency to short necks and
unduly big heads which sink on to the torso. Michelozzo never grasped
the spirit of childhood; those at Montepulciano were not a success,
and he was largely responsible for the Prato Pulpit; it has been
suggested that Simone Ferrucci also assisted. Certainly it would be
Michelozzo's idea to divide the frieze into compartments, which
interrupt the continuity of the relief and necessitate fourteen
terminal points instead of four on the cantoria. We can also detect
Michelozzo's hand in the rather stiff and professional details of the
architecture. But he seems to have also executed some of the reliefs,
even if the general idea from which he worked should have been
Donatello's. Thus the panel most remote from the cathedral façade is
involved in design and faulty in execution; and the children's
expression is aimless and dull. But it must not be inferred that the
Prato Pulpit is in any sense a failure, or even displeasing. Its
popularity is thoroughly well deserved. The test of comparison with
the cantoria is most searching, too severe indeed, for such a high
standard could not be maintained. But if the _capo d'opera_ of
sculptured child-life be excluded, the Prato Pulpit will always retain
a well-deserved popularity. Two further points should be noted. Below
the pulpit is a bronze relief, shaped like the capital of a large
column. There should be two of them, and it used to be believed that
the second was destroyed in 1512 when the Spanish troops sacked the
town. But the story is apocryphal, for the documents show that payment
was only made for one relief, and that Michelozzo was entirely
responsible for the casting. It is a most decorative panel, the
motive being ribands and wreaths, among which there are eleven winged
_putti_ of different sizes. At the top of the capital is a big baby in
high-relief peeping over the edge; an exquisite fancy reminding us of
the two inquisitive children clambering over the heraldic shields on
the Pecci monument. On the base of the capital are two other _putti_
of equal charm, winged like the rest, and sedately looking outwards in
either direction. The volutes of the bronze are decorated with other
figures, less boyish and almost suggesting the touch of Ghiberti, who,
it may be remarked, was appointed assessor of the contract by the
Wardens of the Girdle. Finally, one may inquire what Donatello's
motive can have been in designing the frieze: what may be the relation
of the sculpture to the precious Girdle. No conclusive answer can be
given. In the organ-loft of Luca della Robbia the object was to show
praise of the Lord "with all kinds of instruments"[148]: Donatello's
was to "let them praise his name in the dance."[149] At Prato we have
dance and music for no apparent reason, except perhaps as a display of
joyfulness appropriate to the great festival of exhibiting the
_Cingolo_. It is possible that the curious little reliquary in which
the Girdle is actually preserved may supply the clue to some legend or
tradition connected with the relic. This _cofanetto_ was remodelled
about this time, and the primitive motive and design may have been
impaired. But we have a series of winged _putti_ made of ivory, who
dance and play about much as those on the pulpit, but amongst whom one
can see scraps of rope, signifying the Girdle, from which they derive
their incentive to joy and vivacity.

[Footnote 144: 14, vii. 1428.]

[Footnote 145: 27, v. 1434.]

[Footnote 146: Letter from Matteo degli Orghani, printed with the
other documents in C. Guasti, opere, iv. 463-477.]

[Footnote 147: A pair of terra-cotta variants of these panels are
preserved in the Wallace Collection at Hertford House.]

[Footnote 148: Psalm cl.]

[Footnote 149: Psalm cxlix.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

BRONZE AMORINO

BARGELLO]


[Sidenote: Other Children by Donatello.]

There are six _putti_ above the Annunciation in Santa Croce. They are
made of terra-cotta, while the rest of the work is in stone, and
designed in such a way that the children are superfluous. They are,
however, undoubtedly by Donatello, and may have been added as an
afterthought. Two stand on either side of the curved tympanum,
clinging to each other as they look downwards, and afraid of falling
over the steep precipice. Their attitude is shy and timid, as Leonardo
said was advisable when making little children standing still.[150]
Though unnecessary, their presence on the relief is justified by
Donatello's skill and humour. In the great reliefs at Padua, Siena and
Lille he introduces them without any specific object, though he
contrives that they shall show fear or surprise in response to the
incident portrayed. It is puzzling to know what the bronze boy in the
Bargello should be called. Perseus, Mercury, Cupid, Allegory and
Amorino have been suggested: he combines attributes of them all
together with the budding tail of a faun, and the _gambali_, the
buskin-trouser of the Tuscan peasant[151]--"_vestito in un certo modo
bizzarro_" as Vasari says. Cinelli thought it classical, and it
resembles an undoubted antique in the Louvre. Donatello has clearly
taken classical motives; the winged feet and the serpents twining
between them are not Renaissance in form or idea. But the statue
itself is closely akin to the Cantoria children, but being in bronze
shows a higher polish, and, moreover, is treated in a less summary
fashion. It is a brilliant piece of bronze: colour, cast and
chiselling are alike admirable, and there is a vibration in the
movement as the saucy little fellow looks up laughing, having
presumably just shot off an arrow; or possibly he has been twanging a
wire drawn tightly between the fingers. It throws much light on the
bronze boys at Padua made ten or fifteen years later. This Florentine
boy shows how completely Donatello, perhaps with the assistance of a
caster, could render his meaning in bronze. In two or three cases at
Padua the work is clumsy and slipshod, showing how he allowed his
assistants to take liberties which he would never have countenanced in
work finished by his own hands. The Bargello has another Amorino of
bronze, a nude winged boy standing on a cockleshell, and just about to
fly away; quite a pleasing statuette, and executed with skill except
as regards the extremities of the fingers, where the bronze has
failed. It resembles Donatello's _putti_ who play and dance on the
corners of the tabernacle of Quercia's font at Siena; but the base of
this figure differs from that of the other four. A fifth of the
Sienese _putti_ was recently bought in London for the Berlin Gallery,
an invaluable acquisition to that growing collection.[152] This group,
however, is less important than the wonderful pair of bronze _putti_
belonging to Madame André.[153] These are much larger: they carry
candle-sockets and are lightly draped with a few ribands and garlands:
judging from the way they are huddled up, it is possible that they
formed part of a larger work. They appear to be a good deal later than
the Cantoria, though they do not show any technical superiority to
the large Bargello Amorino; but they have not quite got that freshness
which cannot be dissociated from work made between 1433 and 1440.
Madame André has another superb Donatello--a marble boy: his attitude
is unbecoming, but the modelling of this admirable statue--the urchin
is nearly life-sized--is almost unequalled. There is a similar figure
in the Louvre made by some imitator. It need hardly be said that
Donatello's children, especially the free-standing bronze statuettes,
were widely copied. According to Vasari, Donatello designed the wooden
_putti_ carrying garlands in the new Sacristy of the Duomo. There are
fourteen of these boys, and they overstep the cornice like
Michelozzo's angels in the Capella Portinari at Milan. Donatello may
have given the sketch for one or two, but there is a lack of
intelligence about them, besides a certain monotony. Moreover, it is
improbable that Donatello would have designed garlands so bulky that
they threaten to push the little boys who carry them off the cornice.
In spite of its faults, this frieze is charming. The _naïveté_ of the
quattrocento often invests its errors with attraction. It would be
wearisome to catalogue the scores of bronze children which show
undoubted imitation of Donatello. They exist in every great
collection, one of exceptional merit being in London.[154] A large
school sprang into existence, chiefly in Padua and Venice, whence it
spread all over Northern Italy, and produced any number of bronze
works which recall one or other feature of Donatello's children. But
they never approached Donatello. Their work was a sort of
_minuteria_--table ornaments, plaquettes, inkstands, and the ordinary
decoration of a sitting-room. Monumental childhood almost ceased to
exist in Italian plastic art, and, after Michael Angelo, degenerated
into stout and prosperous children lolling in clouds and diving among
the draperies which adorned the later altars and tombs. Their didactic
value was soon lost to Italian sculpture, and with it went their
inherent grace and significance. Donatello was among the first as he
was among the last seriously to apply to sculpture the words _ex ore
infantium perfecisti laudem_.

[Footnote 150: "Trattato della Pintura," Richter, i. 291.]

[Footnote 151: This open form of trouser, of which one sees a variant
on the Martelli David, was also classical. The Athis or Phrygian
shepherd usually wears something of the kind.]

[Footnote 152: Very similar classical types are in the British Museum,
No. 1147; and the Eros springing forward in the Forman Collection
(dispersed in 1899) is almost identical.]

[Footnote 153: From the Piot Collection. Figured in "Gaz. des Beaux
Arts," 1890, iii. 410.]

[Footnote 154: Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 475, 1864. A winged boy
carrying a dolphin.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

SAN GIOVANNINO

FAENZA MUSEUM]


[Sidenote: Boys' Busts.]

It is inexplicable that modern criticism should withdraw from
Donatello all the free-standing or portrait-busts of boys, while going
to the opposite extreme in ascribing to him an enormous number of
Madonnas. We know that Donatello was passionately fond of carving
children on his reliefs: we also know that only two versions of the
Madonna can be really authenticated as his work. Why should Donatello
have made no busts of boys when it is not denied that he was
responsible for something like one hundred boys in full-length; and
how does it come about that scores of Madonnas should be attributed to
him when we only have the record of a few? There can be no doubt that
Donatello would not have rested content with children in relief or in
miniature. The very preparation of his numerous works in this category
must have led him to make busts as well, quite apart from his own
inclinations. The stylistic method of argument should not be abused:
if driven to a strict and logical conclusion it becomes misleading. It
ignores the human element in the artist. It pays no attention to his
desire to vary the nature of his work or to make experiments. It
eliminates the likelihood of forms which differ from the customary
type, and it makes no allowance for possibilities or probabilities,
least of all for mistakes. It is purely on stylistic grounds that each
bust connected with Donatello's name has been withdrawn from the list
of his works. A fashion had grown up to ascribe to Donatello all that
delightful group of marble busts now scattered over Europe. Numbers
were obviously the work of competent but later men: Rossellino,
Desiderio, Mino da Fiesole, and so forth. There remain others which
are more doubtful, but which in one detail or another are alleged to
be un-Donatellesque, and have therefore been fearlessly attributed to
other sculptors from whose authenticated work they often dissent.
That, however, was immaterial, the primary object being to disinherit
Donatello without much thought as to his lawful successor in title. A
critical discrimination between these busts was an admitted need;
everything of the kind had been conventionally ascribed to Donatello
just as Luca della Robbia was held responsible for every bit of glazed
terra-cotta. These ascriptions to the most fashionable and lucrative
names had become conventional, and had to be destroyed. Invaluable
service has been rendered by reducing the number given to Donatello
and adding to the number properly ascribed to others. But the process
has gone too far. The difficulties are, of course, great, and
stylistic data offer the only starting-point; but as these data are
readily found by comparison with Donatello's accepted work, it ought
to be possible, on the fair and natural assumption that Donatello may
well have made such busts, to determine the authenticity of a certain
proportion. In any case, it would be less difficult to prove that
Donatello did, than that he did not make statues of this description.
Among the busts of very young boys which cannot be assigned to
Donatello are those belonging to Herr Benda in Vienna, and to M.G.
Dreyfus in Paris. Nothing can exceed their softness and delicacy of
modelling, and they are among the most winning statuettes in the
world. They were frequently copied by Desiderio and his _entourage_.
One of the little heads in the Vanchettoni Chapel at Florence is
likewise animated by a similar exemplar. There is something girlish
about them, a pursuit of prettiness which is no doubt the source of
their singular attraction, and which invests them with an irresistible
charm. The San Giovannino, also in the Vanchettoni, is a more concrete
version of childhood, but is by the same hand as its fellow. These
four busts fail to characterise the child's head; not indeed that
characterisation was needed to make an enchanting work, but that
Donatello's children elsewhere show more of the individual touches of
the master and personal notes of the child. The Duke of Westminster
possesses a life-sized head of a boy,[155] which is palpably by
Donatello, though no document exists to prove it. We have all the
essentials of Donatello's modelling; the handling is uncompromising
and firm; the child is treated more like a portrait. Indeed, many of
these children's busts, even when symbolised by St. John's rough
tunic, were avowed portraits--the Martelli San Giovannino, for
instance, which from Vasari's time has been ascribed, and probably
with justice, to Donatello. This little head enjoys a reputation which
it scarcely deserves. The expression is dull, the hair grows so low
that scarcely any forehead is visible; the cheeks bulge out, and
the mouth is too small. We have, in fact, a lifelike presentment of
some boy, perhaps of the Martelli family, showing him at his least
prepossessing moment, when the bloom of childhood has passed away, and
before the lines have been fined down and merged into the stronger
contours of youth. Desiderio would have improved Nature by modifying
the boy's features, and we should have had a work comparable to those
previously mentioned. But Donatello (and perhaps his patrons)
preferred a less idealised version. The Martelli figure, and a most
important boy's bust belonging to Frau Hainauer in Berlin, are now
usually ascribed to Rossellino. But his St. John in the Bargello,
where all the features are softened down, and his authenticated work
in San Miniato and elsewhere, make the attribution open to question.
The St. John at Faenza is also denied to be by Donatello; one of the
critics who is quite certain on the point believes the bust to be made
of wood! These problems cannot be settled by spending ten _lire_ on
photographs. The bust at Faenza,[156] though a faithful portrait, is
one of the most romantic specimens of childhood depicted by Donatello.
Admirably modelled, and with a surface like ivory, it gives the
intimate characteristics of the model. Nothing has been embellished or
suppressed, if we may judge from the absolute sequence and
correspondence of all the features. The flat head, the projecting
mouth, and the much-curved nose, are sure signs of accurate and
painstaking observation; they combine to give it a personal note which
adds much to its abstract merits. The St. John in the Louvre[157] is
also a portrait, but of an older boy, in whom the first signs of
maturity are faintly indicated: lines on the forehead, a stronger
neck, and a harder accentuation of nose and mouth. But he is still a
boy, though he will soon go forth into the wilderness. By the side of
the Faenza Giovannino he would appear rough; beside the Vienna and
Dreyfus statuettes he would be harsh and unsympathetic. He has no
smiling countenance, no fascinating twinkle of the eye: the type has
not been generalised as in Desiderio's work, and it therefore lacks
those qualities, the very absence of which makes it most
Donatellesque. The fundamental distinction between Donatello and the
later masters can be emphasised by comparing this bust with another
group of terra-cotta heads, which are analogous, although the boy in
them is older. One in the Berlin Gallery[158] has been painted, and no
final judgment can be passed until the more recent accretions of
oil-colour have been removed. But the whole conception is weakly and
vapid. The brown eyes, the nicely rouged cheeks, the mincing look, and
the affectation of the pose make a genteel page-boy of him, and all
suggest a later imitation--about 1470 perhaps--and contemporary with
the somewhat analogous though better rendering in the Louvre.[159] The
version belonging to M. Dreyfus differs in certain details from the
Berlin bust, and it has been fortunate in escaping careless painting;
it has more vigour and virility. One remark may be made about the
Faenza, Grosvenor House, Martelli, Hainauer and Louvre busts: they all
show a peculiarity in the treatment of the hair. It is bunched
together and drawn back from behind the ears, and is gathered on the
nape of the neck, down which it seems to curl. This is precisely the
treatment observed in the Mandorla relief, the Martelli David, the
young Gattamelata, and the Amorino in the Bargello: in a lesser degree
it is observable in the Isaac and the Siena Virtues. The point is not
one upon which stress could properly be laid, but it is a further
point of contact between Donatello's accepted work and some few out of
the numerous boys' busts which he must inevitably have made.

[Footnote 155: In Grosvenor House. Bronze; generally known as "The
Laughing Boy."]

[Footnote 156: Its proportion is impaired by the basal drapery, which
was grafted to the statue at a later date. This bust belonged to Sabba
da Castiglione, who was very proud of it. He was born within twenty
years of Donatello's death.]

[Footnote 157: No. 383. Marble. Goupil Bequest.]

[Footnote 158: Stucco, No. 38A. _Cf._ also one belonging to
Herr Richard von Kaufmann, Berlin.]

[Footnote 159: No. 1274, St. John, Florentine School, a painting.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

NICCOLÒ DA UZZANO

BARGELLO, FLORENCE]


[Sidenote: Niccolò da Uzzano and Polychromacy.]

The bust of Niccolò da Uzzano has gained its widespread popularity
from its least genuine feature--namely, the paint with which it is
disfigured. The daubs of colour give it a fictitious importance, an
actual realism which invests it with the illusion of living flesh and
blood. This is all the more unfortunate, as the bust is a remarkable
work, and does not gain by being made into a "speaking likeness." Its
merits can best be appreciated in a cast, where the form is reproduced
without the dubious embellishments of later times. Niccolò was a
high-minded patrician, an implacable opponent of the Medici, and a
warm friend of higher education: it is also of interest that he should
have been an executor of the will of John XXIII. He was born in 1359,
and died in 1432. The bust is made of terra-cotta, and shows a man of
sixty-five or so, and would therefore be coeval with the later
Campanile prophets (but nothing beyond old tradition can be accepted
as authority for the nomenclature). The modelling of the head is quite
masterly. Niccolò is looking rather to the left; his keen and
hawklike countenance, and his piercing eyes, deep set and quivering
within pendulous eyelids, give a sense of invincible logic and
penetration. The laconic, matter-of-fact mouth, and the resolute jaw
add strength and courage to the physiognomy: the nose and its
disdainful nostrils are those of the haughty optimate. The head is,
however, less fine than the face: a skull of rather common
proportions, and a sloping though broad forehead are its marked
features. Donatello has given him an ugly ear; Niccolò's ear was,
therefore, ugly, and the throat is swollen. The shoulders are covered
with a thick piece of drapery, leaving the throat and upper part of
the breast bare. Such is the impression conveyed by Niccolò in the
cast. In the Bargello the colouring modifies what the form itself was
meant to suggest. The smallest error of a paint-brush, the slightest
deepening of a pigment, are quite sufficient to make radical
alterations in the sentiment of a statue. When applied to plastic art,
colour is potent enough to change the essential purpose of the
sculptor. The chief reason why the terra-cotta bust of St. John at
Berlin looks flippant and fastidious is, that the painter was
indiscreet in drawing the eyebrows and lips: owing to his
carelessness, they do not coincide with the features indicated by the
modeller, and the entire character of the boy is consequently changed.
The question of polychromacy in Donatello's sculpture is of great
importance, and requires some notice. It is no longer denied that
classical statues were frequently coloured. The Parthenon frieze and
many celebrated monuments of antiquity were picked out with colour.
Others received some kind of polish, _circumlitio_,--like the dark
varnish which is on the face of the Coscia effigy. Again, the use
of ivory, precious stones, and metal was common. The lips and eyeballs
were frequently overlaid by thin slabs of silver.[160] The origin of
polychromacy, doubtless, dates back to the most remote ages. It was
first needed to conceal imperfections, and to supply what the carver
felt his inability to render. It connotes insufficiency in the form.
The sculptor, of all people, ought to be able to see colour in the
uncoloured stone: he ought to realise its warmth, texture and shades.
Nobody has any right to complain that a statue is uncoloured: the
substance and quality of the marble is in itself pleasing, but
relative truth is all that is required in a portrait-bust. If one
wants to know the colour of a man's eye, or the precise tint of his
complexion, the painter's art should be invoked, but only where its
gradations and subtleties can be fully rendered--on the canvas.
Polychromacy is a mixture of two arts: it is one art trying to steal a
march upon another art by producing illusion. That is why the
pantaloon paints his face, and why the audience laughs: the spirit
which tolerates painted statues ends by adorning them with necklaces.
Donatello, whose sense of light and shade was acutely developed, least
required the adventitious aid of colour. Polychromacy was to a certain
extent justified on terra-cotta, to soften the toneless colour of the
clay, and on wood it served a purpose in hiding the cracks of a
brittle substance. Nowadays it is happily no more than a _refugium
peccatorum_. There is, however, no doubt that in Donatello's day it
was widely used, and used by Donatello himself. It began in actual
need, then became a convention, and long survived: _il n'y a rien de
plus respectable qu'un ancien abus_. During the fifteenth century
statues were coloured during the highest proficiency of sculpture:
buildings were painted,[161] and bronze was habitually gilded.
Donatello's Coscia, and his work at Siena and Padua, still show signs
of it. The St. Mark was coloured, and the Cantoria was much more
brilliant with gold than it is now. The St. Luke, which was removed
from Or San Michele,[162] has long been protected from the weather,
and still shows traces of a rich brocade decorated with coloured
lines. The Christ of Piero Tedesco on the façade of the Cathedral had
glass eyes. Roland and Oliver, two wonderful creations on the façade
of the Cathedral at Verona, had blue enamel eyes. The Apostles in the
Church of San Zeno, in the same city, are exceptionally interesting,
being one of the rare cases where the genuine colouring is visible,
although it has been much worn. The early colourists used
tempera;[163] as this perished, oil paint was substituted, and there
are very few painted statues extant on which restoration has never
taken place, and consequently where the original colour of the
sculptor is intact. With repainting, the original artist disappears:
even if the work is cast, the delicate tints of the first colouring
must be impaired, and repainting follows. Thus the Niccolò da Uzzano
is covered with inferior oil colour, and only in a few details can the
primitive tempera be detected. The later addition creates the
fictitious interest, and immensely reduces the real importance of this
masterly production.

[Footnote 160: _Cf._ Naples Museum, No. 5592.]

[Footnote 161: _Cf._ drawings of façades in Vettorio Ghiberti's
Note-book.]

[Footnote 162: Bargello Cortile, No. 3, by Niccolo di Piero.]

[Footnote 163: Borghini, in 1586, gave a curious recipe for colouring
marble according to antique rules. Florentine ed. 1730, p. 123.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Portrait-busts.]

It is a singular fact admitting of no ready explanation that
portrait-busts, so common in Tuscany, should scarcely have existed in
Venice. Florence was their native home. From the time of Donatello
every sculptor of note was responsible for one or more, while certain
artists made it a regular occupation. Luca della Robbia, however, one
of the most consummate sculptors of his day, made no portrait except
the effigy of Bishop Federighi. There are one or two small heads in
the Bargello, but they scarcely come within the category of studied
portraits, while the heads on the bronze doors of the Duomo, though
modelled from living people, are small and purely decorative in
purpose. Glazed terra-cotta was a material so admirably adapted to
showing the refinements of feature and character, as we can see in
both Luca's and Andrea's work, that this absence is all the more
surprising. At the same time, numerous as portrait-statues were in
Tuscany, they do not compare in numbers with those executed in
classical times. In the fifteenth century the statue was a work of
art, and its actual carving was an integral part of the art: so the
replica in sculpture was rare. But under the Roman Empire statues of
the same man were erected in scores and hundreds in the same city;
their multiplication became a profession in itself, and a large class
of artisans must have grown up, eternally copying and recopying
portrait-busts and giving them the haunting dulness of mechanical
reproductions. The artist himself was more interested in the torso
than the head; some artists came to be regarded as specialists in
their own lines; Calcosthenes for instance, who made athletes, and
Apollodorus, who made philosophers. Donatello made several
portrait-busts, and two or three others, such as the head of St.
Laurence, and the so-called St. Cecilia in London, which are portraits
in all essentials. These two are idealised heads, both made late in
life, judging from a certain sketchiness, in no way detracting from
their sterling qualities, but indicative of Donatello's fluency as an
oldish man. Both are in terra-cotta. The St. Laurence is placed on the
top of one of the great chests in the Sacristy of San Lorenzo, too
high above the eye-level.[164] It has no connection with the
decorative work carried out there by the master, and it is difficult
to see how it could have been meant to fit in with the altar. However,
the authorship of Donatello is beyond question. St. Laurence is almost
a boy, wearing his deacon's vestments. His head is raised up as if he
had just heard something and were about to reply. The eager and
inquiring look is most happily shown. The sentiment of this bust is
quite out of the common; it has an engaging expression which is rare
in the sculpture of all ages, differing from what is called animation
or vivacity. These also may be found in the St. Laurence, where the
exact but indescribable movement of the face as he is about to speak
is rendered with immense skill. The bust, though modelled with a free
hand, is not carelessly executed; everything is in concord, and the
treatment of the clay shows exceptional dexterity, more so, at any
rate, than is the case in the St. Cecilia.[165] The name given to this
bust is traditional, there being no symbol to connect it with her; but
it suggests at least that the work was not meant purely as a portrait.
In technique and conception it is not quite equal to the St.
Laurence, but it is none the less a work of rare merit, and being
Donatello's only clay portrait in this country has a special value to
us. The Saint looks downwards, pensive, quiet and modest, the
embodiment of tranquillity and calm. There is no movement or effort
about her, neither does the work show any effort on the part of the
sculptor. It is equable in a very marked degree; the smooth regular
features are simple and well defined, and the hair, brushed back from
the forehead, has a softness which could scarcely be obtained in
marble. The bust known as Louis III. of Gonzaga is interesting in
another way: it is bronze and has been left in an unfinished state.
Two versions of it exist--one in Berlin, the other in Paris, belonging
to Madame André, the latter being perhaps the less ugly of the two. It
used to be known as Alfonso of Naples, on the assumption that
Donatello must surely have made a bust of that prince. This theory,
however, had to be abandoned, and it is now held to be a portrait of
the Gonzaga as being a closer resemblance to him than to Alfonso, or
Giovanni Tornabuoni. Mantegna's portrait of Gonzaga, though made
later, shows a rather different type, less displeasing than the
bronze. In the bust we have what is probably the portrait of a coarse
and clumsy person; he is petulant in the mouth, weak in the chin,
gross in the thick and heavy jaw. The bronze is extremely rough, and
shows no signs of the nervous and individual touches which we find in
Donatello's terra-cotta. Both the busts are unfinished; in the absence
of chasing and hammering they are covered with bubbles and splotches
of metal. They have, therefore, not passed through the hands of
assistants, except so far as the actual casting of the bronze was
concerned. During the process of casting the refinements of a clay
model would often be impaired, but this shows no sign of having been
made from an original of merit. The man is ugly, it is true; but the
broad expanse of his lifeless cheek and the bulbous forehead would in
real life have been explained and justified by bone and muscle, which
the sculptor would have rendered in his clay study. The ugliness of
the man, however, is unrelated to the qualities of the bust. Nobody
could make the likeness of an ugly man better than Donatello; and
since the faults of this portrait lie more in the modelling than in
the sitter, one is driven to conclude that the bust must be entirely
the work of an assistant, or else a failure of the master.

[Footnote 164: It used to be over one of the doors, preserved _in una
custodia_ which Richa thought ought to have been made of crystal, so
precious was the bust.--"Ch. Fiorentine," 1758, v. 39.]

[Footnote 165: Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 7585, 1861.]

An effective counterpart to this bust exists in Berlin. It is also a
life-sized bronze of an older man, and in many ways the likeness to
the Gonzaga bust is notable. But wherever Gonzaga's features lack
distinction this portrait shows fine qualities and good breeding.
Nothing could better illustrate how minute are the plastic details
which will revolutionise a countenance; how easily noble and handsome
features can degenerate into what is sordid and vulgar. In this bust
the chin, though receding, is far from weak; the lips are full but not
sensual; the nose has the faint aquiline curve of distinction. There
is benevolence in the eyes, meditation in the brow, dignity and
reserve throughout the physiognomy: it is the portrait of a man who
may be great, but who must be good. When a bronze _abozzo_ has to be
finished the detail is added by hammering the metal, or incising it
with gravers. Thus the bronze has to be reduced, it being seldom
possible to enlarge it at any point. But the Gonzaga bust would
require to be enlarged in several places to make it a lifelike head.
In the case of the portrait just described, the metal was cast from a
rough sketch which, in the first place, had the qualities of a living
and consistent head, and which, in the second place, was modelled with
sufficient amplitude to permit the entire head to be hammered, and the
exquisite details to be added. Technically this head is almost
unequalled among Donatello's bronze portraits; it is quite superb.
Comparison with the Gattamelata at Padua is fair to neither. But it
can be suitably compared with the bronze portrait in the Bargello
generally known as the Young Gattamelata. The tomb of Giovanni
Antonio, son of the famous Condottiere, is in the Santo at Padua. The
effigy resembles this bust. Giovanni died young in 1456, and on the
whole there is sufficient reason for considering it to be his
portrait. On this assumption the bust can be dated about 1455. It is a
happy combination of youth and maturity. On the one side we have the
smooth features, still unmarked by frowns and furrows, the soft
youthful texture of the skin, and something young in the thick curly
hair. On the other hand, the character of the face shows perfect
self-confidence in its best sense, as well as self-control and
determination. A scrap of drapery covers the outer edge of either
shoulder, and round his neck is a riband, at the end of which hangs a
large oval gem, Cupid in a chariot making his horses gallop. Thus the
throat and breast are bare, and show exceptionally good rendering of
those thin bones and thick tendons which must always be a severe test
to the modeller. As for the bronze itself, the surface is wrought with
much care and finish, though the Berlin bust is unapproached in this
respect. A few other portrait-busts remain to be noticed, which at
one time or another have been attributed to Donatello. The Vecchio
Barbuto, a thoroughly poor piece of work, and the Imperatore
Romano[166] with its sadly disjointed and inconsequential appearance,
are works which scarcely recall the touch of Donatello. The bust of a
veiled lady is more interesting.[167] In the old Medici catalogue it
used to be called _Donna velata incognita_, or _sacerdotessa velata_:
and it was also called Annalena Malatesta: a suggestion has been
recently made that it represents the Contessina de' Bardi, who married
Cosimo de' Medici. Vasari certainly mentions a bronze bust of the
Contessina by Donatello; but the family records would scarcely have
called so important a person a nun or an _incognita_: moreover, she
did not die till 1473, and as this bust is obviously made from a
death-mask, it is clear that Donatello could not be its author. The
custom of making death-masks is described by Polybius: in Donatello's
time it became very popular, and Verrocchio became one of the foremost
men in this branch of trade, which combined expedition and accuracy
with cheapness. The wax models were coloured and used as chimney-piece
decorations, _in ogni casa di Firenze_. The bronze bust of San Rossore
in the Church of Santo Stefano at Pisa has been attributed to
Donatello. From the _denunzia_ of 1427 we know that Donatello was
occupied on a bust of the saint, and certain payments are
recorded.[168] But beyond this fact there is no reason for assigning
the Pisa bust to him. No explanation is offered of its removal from
Florence to Pisa, and had we not known that Donatello made such a
bust, this uncouth and slovenly thing would never have been ascribed
to him. It is a reliquary, the crown of the head being detachable,
and the head can also be separated from the bust. It is heavily gilded
and minutely chased with the trivial work of some meagre craftsman;
the eyes seem to have been enamelled. It is merely interesting as a
school-piece. Speaking generally, Donatello's portraits are less
important as busts than when they are portions of complete statues.
Excluding Niccolò da Uzzano and the old man at Berlin, the heads he
made cannot compare with the portraits of John XXIII., Brancacci,
Habbakuk and St. Francis at Padua. Donatello helped to lay the
foundations of the tremendous school of portraiture which flourished
after his death, both in sculpture and painting; based, in certain
parts of Italy, on the principles he had laid down, though thriving
elsewhere upon independent lines; such, for instance, as the
remarkable group of portraits ascribed to Laurana or Gagini. But at
his best Donatello rarely approached the comprehensive powers of
Michael Angelo. With the latter we see the whole corpus or entity made
the vehicle of portraiture; everything is forced to combine, and to
concentrate the [Greek: êthos] of the conception; everything is driven
into harmony. Michael Angelo gives a portrait which is also typical,
while preserving the real. Donatello seldom got beyond the real; but
he went far towards realising the highest forms of portraiture, and
two or three of his works, though differing in standard from the
Brutus or the Penseroso, surpass anything achieved by his
contemporaries.

[Footnote 166: Bargello, No. 18, and No. 6, life-sized bronze.]

[Footnote 167: Bargello, 17.]

[Footnote 168: Gaye, i. 121.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Relief-portraits.]

A few portraits in relief require a word of notice. As a rule they are
later in date, though they are often given to Donatello. It became
fashionable to have one's portrait made as a Roman celebrity: an
Antonine for instance; a Galba or a Faustina; or as some statesman,
like Scipio or Cæsar. Donatello was not responsible for these
portraits, though several have been attributed to him. But he made one
or two such reliefs, such as the little St. John in the Bargello which
has already been described. The oval-topped portrait in the same
collection, made of pietra serena--a clean-shaved man with longish
hair and an aquiline nose, is wrongly ascribed to Donatello. There is
a much more interesting portrait, two copies of which exist; one is in
London, the other in Milan.[169] It is a relief-portrait of a woman in
profile to the right; her neck and breast are bare, treated similarly
to the magnificent bust in the Bargello (177). The two reliefs, of
which the Milan copy is oval, while ours is rectangular with a
circular top, are modelled with brilliant and exquisite _morbidezza_:
the undercutting is square, so that the shadows assert themselves; the
wavy hair is brushed back and retained by a fillet, leaving the neck
and temples quite free. In many ways it is the marble version of those
portraits attributed to Piero della Francesca in the National
Gallery[170] and elsewhere, but treated so that while the painting is
curious the marble is beautiful. These reliefs cannot be traced to
Donatello, though they show his style and influence in several
particulars. Madame André has a marble relief of an open-mouthed boy
crowned with laurels, and with ribands waving behind. It is very close
to the Piot St. John in the Louvre, and analogous in some respects to
two other reliefs of great interest, both in Paris, belonging
respectively to La Marquise Arconati-Visconti and to M. Gustave
Dreyfus. These are marble reliefs of St. John and Christ facing each
other, exquisite in their childhood. The former is round, the latter
square. It is usual to ascribe them to Desiderio, and there are
details which lead one to agree on the point. They show, however, that
Donatello's influence was strong enough to survive his death in
particulars which later men might well have ignored. And the two
reliefs combine the strength of Donatello with the sweetness of
Desiderio.

[Footnote 169: Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 923, 1900, and Museo
Archeologico, No. 1681, both marble.]

[Footnote 170: Nos. 585 and 758.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: San Lorenzo.]

Donatello must have completed the most important decorative work in
the Sacristy of San Lorenzo by 1443. Brunellesco was the architect,
and there were differences between them as to their respective spheres
of work. Donatello made the bronze doors, a pair of large reliefs,
four large circular medallions of the Evangelists, as well as four
others of scenes from the life of St. John the Evangelist. Excluding
the doors, everything is made of terra-cotta. The reliefs over the
inner doors of the Sacristy represent St. Stephen and St. Laurence on
one side, and St. Cosmo and St. Damian on the other. They are nearly
life size, modelled in rather low-relief upon panels with circular
tops, and of exceptional size for works in terra-cotta. The reliefs
are enclosed in Donatello's framework of latish Renaissance design,
but the figures themselves are very simple. There is a minimum of
ornament, and they harmonise with the remarkable scheme of the bronze
doors below them, with which they have so many points in common. The
ceiling of the chapel has been repeatedly whitewashed, and the eight
medallions are consequently blurred in surface and outline. It is a
real misfortune, for, so far as one can judge, they contain
compositions and designs of great interest, by which a new light would
probably be thrown upon several doubtful problems were it possible to
study them with precision. Criticism must therefore be guarded, and
their position is such as to make examination difficult. The Roundels
of the Evangelists are modelled with boldness and severity, qualities
which one is not surprised to find in Donatello, but which are here
emphasised, for they stand out in spite of the coats of whitewash. In
some ways they resemble the Evangelists of the Capella Pazzi. Here one
notices a delicacy of decoration on the seats, desks, &c., contrasting
with the rugged grandeur of the figures themselves, and with the
absence of ornament, which is so marked a feature of the other reliefs
in the Sacristy. The four scenes from the life of St. John (Vasari
says from the lives of the Evangelists) are even more interesting than
the panels just mentioned. It appears from the few words Vasari
devotes to the Sacristy that Donatello also painted views upon the
ceiling, but no trace remains. The incidents depicted in the roundels
are St. John's Apotheosis, Martyrdom, and Sojourn on Patmos, and the
Raising of Drusiana. There are landscapes and architectural
backgrounds; many figures are introduced, and there is a good deal of
nude study. We also notice a feature of frequent occurrence--a trick
of giving depth to the scene and vividness to the foreground, by
letting figures be cut off short by the frames. Men seem to be
standing on the spectator's side of the relief, and only appear at the
point where they can be partly included in the composition. The field
becomes one that would be included within the range of vision as seen
through a round window or telescope. Mantegna made great use of this
idea. The more one looks at these eight medallions the more one
regrets their present condition: washing is all that is required. If
they could be carefully cleaned we would certainly find details of
interest, and in all probability facts of importance. The frieze of
angels' heads which surrounds the Sacristy is of secondary interest,
as there are only two different cherubs, which are reproduced by
moulds all along its entire length. Signs of gilding and colour are
still visible. Pretty as they are, these angels cannot challenge
comparison with the Pazzi frieze or with Donatello's similar work
elsewhere--for instance, on the base of the Cantoria or upon the Or
San Michele niche. The marble balustrade of the altar may have been
designed by Donatello. The Sacristy shows how well adapted terra-cotta
was for decoration on a large scale. But Donatello was too wise to
cover the walls with his reliefs, as is the case in the Capella
Pellegrini at Verona. Here the sculpture is used to decorate the
chapel walls, there the walls are merely used to uphold the sculpture.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

BRONZE DOORS

SAN LORENZO, FLORENCE]


[Sidenote: The Bronze Doors.]

There is no more instructive study than the bronze doors of Italian
churches. They are the earliest specimens of bronze casting to be
found in Italy of Christian times; they show the gradual transition
from Eastern to Western forms of art, and they were usually made by
the most prominent sculptor of the day. Their size is considerable,
they are frequently dated, and their condition is often
extraordinarily good. Donatello's are relatively small, but they
adhere to the best traditions. Excluding the great doors made by Luca
della Robbia for the Sacristy of the Duomo, these in San Lorenzo are
among the latest which were produced according to the ancient model
and the correct idea. Thenceforward the doors ceased to be doors; the
reliefs ceased to show the qualities of bronze, and disregarded the
principles of sculpture. Donatello made two pairs of doors, one on
either side of the altar. The doors open in the middle; there are thus
four long-hinged panels of bronze, and each panel has five reliefs
upon it. It is doubtful if the most archaic doors in Italy show such
uniformity of design, for all the twenty bronze reliefs illustrate one
single theme, namely, the conversation of two standing men. The panels
simply consist of two saints, roughly sketched in somewhat low-relief
upon an absolutely flat background: there is great variety in the
drapery, and some of the figures might come out of thirteenth-century
illuminations. Never was a monotonous motive invested with such
variety of treatment: never was simplicity better attained by
scrupulous elimination. Donatello's symmetrical idea had been
previously employed, and Torrigiano put his figures in couples on what
Bacon called one of the "stateliest and daintiest monuments of
Europe."[171] Luca della Robbia put his figures in threes on the
Cathedral gates, a seated figure in the centre, with a standing figure
on either side. But Donatello had to make twice as many panels as
Luca. Martyrs, apostles and confessors are talking on the San Lorenzo
doors. Thus St. Stephen shows the stone of his martyrdom to St.
Laurence. Elsewhere St. Peter's movement suggests that he is
upbraiding his fellow, for the argument excites these saints. They
gesticulate freely; martyrs seem to fence with their palm-leaves. One
will turn away abruptly, another will pay sudden attention to his
book, while his companion continues to talk. One man slaps his book to
clinch the discussion, another jots down a note; two others are ending
their controversy and prepare to leave--in opposite directions. But,
though these are literal descriptions of the scenes, there is no
levity; everything is ordained according to Donatello's strict
formula. He was none the less determined to adhere to the old
conventional and non-pictorial treatment of the gates, and at the same
time to give animation to every panel. In this he has succeeded, but
the symmetrical arrangement in pairs preserves a decorum in spite of
the vigorous movement pictured on the doors. These doors open and
shut: they were meant to do so, especially to shut. Ghiberti's second
pair of doors for the Baptistery do not _shut_: they are closed, but
they do not give the sense of shutting anything in or keeping anything
out. They are more like windows than doors. They give no impression of
defence or resistance: they are doors in nothing but name, and the
chance that they hang on hinges. Were it merely a contest between
Ghiberti and Donatello as to which sculptor were the more skilled
constructor of doors, further comment would be unprofitable; but it
raises the wider question of the laws and limitations of
bas-relief--the application to sculpture of the principles of
painting; in short, the broad line of demarcation between two
different arts. Michael Angelo probably realised the unity of the arts
better than Donatello, but Donatello knew enough to treat sculpture
with due respect: he valued it too highly to confuse the issue by
pictorial embellishments. It is no question of a convention, still
less of a canon. But there are inherent boundaries between the two
arts; and where the boundaries are overstepped, one or the other art
must lose some of its essential quality and charm. Donatello's reliefs
at Padua are crowded: Ghiberti's (on the second gates) are
overcrowded. The difference in degree produces a difference in
principle. If Ghiberti had made pictures instead of reliefs, the
atmosphere would keep the objects in their right places, while
differences of colour would give distinction to certain parts and the
chief figures would still predominate. In other reliefs Ghiberti
lavished so much care on landscape and architecture that the figures
become of secondary importance: on one relief a tree casts its shadow
on a cloud.[172] Ghiberti, in fact, with all his plastic elegance,
with a grace, suavity and sense of beauty which Donatello never
approached, was a painter at heart. "_L'animo mio alla pittura era in
grande parte volto_," he says in his Commentary,[173] and the faults
of his sculpture are due to this versatility. Donatello only used his
pictorial knowledge to perfect form and feature; and, complex as his
architectural backgrounds often are, they never suggest experiments in
perspective, and they never detract from the primacy of the people and
the incident. Michael Angelo was under no illusion on this point: he
never confused painting and sculpture. Yet he said Ghiberti's gates
would be worthy portals of paradise. "_Ce n'est pas la seul sottise
qu'on lui fasse dire_," drily remarked the Chevalier des Brosses;[174]
and, curiously enough, about the time that Michael Angelo made his
famous Judgment, an amateur of the day made a much shrewder criticism,
long since forgotten, that the doors would be adequate to stand at the
gates of Purgatory:--"_sarebbon bastanti a stare alle porte del
Purgatorio._"[175] The ambiguity is not without humour. Sculpture,
indeed, had no reason to ape or imitate painting. Sculpture, in fact,
was in advance of painting during the first half of the fifteenth
century. Donatello, Luca della Robbia, Jacopo della Quercia, and
Ghiberti were greater men in sculpture than their contemporaries in
painting. The arts were in rivalry; the claim for precedence was
zealously canvassed. The sculptors claimed superiority because their
art was older, because statuary has more points of view than one. You
can walk round it, while a picture has only one light and one view.
Moreover, the argument of utility applies most to sculpture, which can
be used for tombs, columns, fountains, caryatides, &c. Sculpture has
finality, for, though it takes longer to make, it cannot be constantly
altered like a picture. While all arts try to imitate nature,
sculpture gives the actual form, but painting only its semblance. A
man born blind has a sense of touch which gives him pleasure from
sculpture, which is better suited to theology, which has greater
durability, and so forth. The painter replied that, if a statue has
more than one point of view, a picture containing many figures can
give even greater variety. Then the argument of utility denies the
essence of art, which is to imitate nature, not to adorn brackets and
pilasters; but even if decoration be an end in itself, painting can be
used where sculpture would be too heavy. The painter continues that
his art requires higher training in such things as atmosphere and
perspective. As to the greater durability of sculpture, the material
and not the art is responsible; but, in any case, painting lasts long
enough to be worth achieving. Finally, sculpture cannot always imitate
nature: the sense of colour can make a sunset, a storm at sea,
moonlight, landscape and human emotions, which are best translated by
varying colour and light. The controversy is unsettled to this
day.[176] The wise man, like Donatello, selected his art and never
overstepped the boundary.

[Footnote 171: "Life of Henry VII.," ed. 1825, iii. 417.]

[Footnote 172: See Westmacott's lectures on Sculpture, II. III.,
_Athenæum_, 1858.]

[Footnote 173: 2nd Comm. Vasari, I. xxx.]

[Footnote 174: Letter of 1739, p. 186.]

[Footnote 175: 17, viii. 1549, Antonio Doni, printed in Bottari, iii.
341.]

[Footnote 176: These dialogues will be found at great length in
Borghini, Vasari, Leonardo da Vinci, Alberti, &c. Castiglione also
devotes a canto of the "Cortegiano" to the subject.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

JUDITH

LOGGIA DEI LANZI, FLORENCE]


[Sidenote: The Judith.]

The bronze statue of Judith was probably made shortly before
Donatello's journey to Padua. It is his only large bronze group, and
its faults are accentuated by the most unfortunate position it
occupies in the lofty Loggia de' Lanzi. It was meant to be the
centrepiece of some large fountain. The triangular base, and the
extremities of the mattress on which Holofernes sits, have spouts from
which the water would issue, though the bronze is not worn away by the
action of water. As we see the statue now, it looks small and dwarfed.
In a courtyard it would look far more imposing, and when it came from
Donatello's workshop, placed upon a pedestal designed for it, its
present incongruities would have been absent. For instance, the feet
of Holofernes would have been upheld by something from below, as the
marks in the bronze indicate. With all its disadvantages, the statue
is extremely interesting. Judith stands over Holofernes. With her left
hand she holds him up by clutching his hair: her right arm is
uplifted, in which she holds the sword. The action seems arrested
during a moment of suspense: one doubts if the sword will ever fall.
Judith, who was the ideal of courage and beauty, seems to hesitate;
there is nothing to show that her arm is meant to descend, except
her inexorable face--and even that is full of sadness and regrets. It
is more dramatic that this should be so. Cellini's Perseus close by
has already committed his murder. The crisis has passed, the blood
spurts from the severed head and trunk of the Medusa; so we have
squalid details instead of the overpowering sense of impending
tragedy. With Cellini there was no room for mystery: no imagination
could be left to the spectator. "_Celui qui nous dict tout nous
saousle et nous dégouste._" Holofernes is an amazing example of
Donatello's power. He is a really drunken man: we see it in the
comatose fall of the limbs, in the drooping features, the languid
inanition of the arms. The veins throb in his hands and feet: the
spine has ceased to be rigid, and were it not for the support of
Judith's hands buried in his hair, he would topple over inanimate. The
treatment of the bronze is successful and its patina is admirable.
Judith's drapery, it is true, has a restless crackling appearance. It
is furrowed into small and rather fussy folds, almost suggesting, like
the figures of the Parthenon pediment, the pleats of wetted linen on a
lay figure. Judith's arm is overweighted by the heavy sleeve. There
are, however, pleasing details, especially the band of embroidery over
her breast decorated with the flying _putti_; and her veil, Michael
Angelesque in its way, is treated with skill and distinction. The base
consists of three bronze reliefs joined into a triangle, separated at
each angle by a narrow bronze plaque, beyond which is a curved
pilaster giving extra support to the figures above. These reliefs are
bacchic in idea and Renaissance in execution. Children dance, play and
sleep around the mask from which the jet of water would issue. These
reliefs, much inferior to the bronze capital at Prato, have been
over-rated. As a group the Judith is not really successful. It is a
pile of figures, less telling in some ways than the Abraham and Isaac,
though, having no niche, it has to undergo the severer test of
criticism from every aspect. But before Michael Angelo the Italian
free-standing group was tentative. Even in Michael Angelo's sculpture,
when we consider its massive scale, the extent and number of his
commissions, and the ease with which he worked his material, it is
astonishing how few free-standing groups were made. His grouping was
applied to the relief. The free group is, of course, the most
comprehensive vehicle of intensified emotion or action; it gives an
opportunity of doubling or trebling the effect on the spectator.
Sculpture has never realised to the full the chances offered by
grouped plastic art of heroic proportions. Classical groups cannot be
fairly judged by the Laocoon, the Farnese Bull, or even the Niobe
reliefs. Their theatrical character is so patent, that it is obvious
how far inferior they must be to the work of greater men whose genuine
productions have perished. But, even so, the group being the medium
through which emotions could be intensified to the uttermost, it is
not necessary to assume that they were common in classical times;
partly owing to the technical difficulties and expense, and partly
owing to their disinclination to make sculpture interpret profound
impressions, mental or intellectual.

There are only four life-sized statues of women by Donatello: this
Judith, the Magdalen, the St. Justina, and the Madonna at Padua. The
Dovizia is lost, and she was treated as an emblematic personage. These
figures and the statuettes at Siena show that, although not accustomed
to make female statues, Donatello was perfectly competent to do so.
The little Eve, on the back of the Madonna's throne at Padua--the
only nude figure of a woman he ever made, and here only in relief--is
exquisite in sentiment and form. The statue of Judith had an
adventurous life. After the revolution in 1495, the group was removed
from the Medici palace to the Ringhiera of the Palazzo Pubblico, and
the words of warning against tyranny were engraved on its new base:
"_Exemplum salutis publicæ cives posuere_, 1495." Judith was the type
of nationalism, the heroine of a war of independence: and this mark of
the Florentine love of liberty has lasted to our own day. No Medici
dared to obliterate the ominous words. Donatello was not much in
politics: his father had taken too violent a share in the feuds of his
day, and narrowly escaped execution. Nor was Donatello's art coloured
by politics: the Florentines did not give commissions like the Sienese
for allegorical representations of the life and duties of citizenship.
Differing from Michael Angelo, Donatello made no Brutus; he did not
concentrate the political tragedies of his day into a Penseroso and a
group of statues full of grave symbolical protests against the
statecraft of his time; and, except for the accidental loss of
Judith's pedestal, Donatello's art never suffered from the curse of
politics. Michael Angelo was always surrounded by the pitfalls of
intrigue and politics: some of his work was sacrificed in consequence.
The colossal statue of Pope Julio was hurled from its place on the
façade of San Petronio, Maestro Arduino the engineer, having covered
the ground where it was to fall with straw and fascines, in order that
no damage should be done--to the pavement! And the broken statue was
sent away to Ferrara, where it was converted into a big cannon, which
they felicitously christened Juliana![177]

[Footnote 177: Gotti, "Vita," i. 66.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

ST. MARY MAGDALEN

BAPTISTERY, FLORENCE]


[Sidenote: The Magdalen and similar Statues.]

We have now to consider a group of rugged statues differing in date
but animated by the same motive, the Magdalen in Florence and three
statues of St. John the Baptist in Siena, Venice, and Berlin. Of
these, the Magdalen in the Baptistery at Florence is the most typical
and the most uncompromising. She stands upright, a mass of tattered
rags, haggard, emaciated, almost toothless. Her matted hair falls down
in thick knots; all feminine softness has gone from the limbs, and
nothing but the drawn muscles remain. It is a thin wasted form,
piteous in expression, painful in all its ascetic excess. The Magdalen
has, of course, been the subject of hostile criticism. It gives a
shock, it inspires horror: it is an outrage on every well-clothed and
prosperous sinner.[178] In point of fact, Donatello's summary method
of carving the wood has given a harshness and asperity to features
which in themselves are not displeasing. In a dimmed light, or looking
with unfocused eyes on the reproduction, it is clear that the
structural lines of the face were once well favoured. But from the
beginning the Magdalen was a work which made a profound impression,
and its popularity is measured by the number of statues of a like
nature. Charles VIII. wanted to buy it in 1498, but the Florentines
thought it priceless and hid it away. Two years later they had the
bronze diadem added by Jacopo Sogliani.[179] Finally, at a period when
this type of sculpture with all its appeal to the traditions of the
Thebaid, was least likely to have been acceptable in art or exemplar,
the statue was placed in a niche above an altar erected on purpose for
its reception, where an inscription testifies to the regard in which
it was then held.[180] This Magdalen is didactic in purpose. Donatello
seems to have given less attention to the modelling, subtle as it is,
than to the concentration of the one absorbing lesson which was to be
conveyed to the spectator. His object was to show repentance, abject
unqualified remorse; purified by suffering, refined by bodily
hardship, and sustained by the "sun of discipline and virtue." There
is no luxury in this Magdalen, but she may have contributed to the
reaction when Pompeo Battoni and the like transformed her into an
opulent personage, dressed in purple, who reclines in some luscious
glade while simpering over a bible. By then art had ceased to know how
penitence could be decently portrayed, and the penitent was not long a
genuine subject of art. The Greeks, of course, had no penitent or
ascetic in their theocracy: even the cynic scarcely found a place in
their art. In Italy the Thebaids of Lorenzetti are among the earliest
versions; the sculpture of the following century brought it still more
home to the public, and then the true mediæval sentiment upon which
this and similar works were founded vanished and has never reappeared.
The date of the Magdalen has provoked a good deal of controversy:
whether it was made immediately before or after the visit to Padua
cannot be determined. But the statue has so many features in common
with the Siena Baptist of 1457 that one can most safely ascribe it to
some date after Donatello's return to Florence. It is certainly more
easy to justify the Magdalen from the pulpits of San Lorenzo than from
anything made before his journey to Northern Italy. One
misapprehension may be removed. It is argued that the Magdalen cannot
be posterior to Padua on the ground that by 1440 Donatello had ceased
to work in any material but soft and ductile clay, which was converted
into bronze by his assistants. The argument is that of one who
probably thinks that the Entombment at Padua is made of terra-cotta,
and who forgets that Donatello executed a number of works in stone for
the Marchese Gonzaga about 1450.[181]

[Footnote 178: Rumour was very severe. "_Elle m'a pour toujours
dégoûte de la pénitence_," sighed Des Brosses. This inimitable person
was the critic who, after visiting the Arena chapel at Padua, observed
that nowadays one would scarcely employ Giotto to paint a
tennis-court.]

[Footnote 179: Richa, III., xxxiii.]

[Footnote 180: The inscription is: "Votis publicis S. Mariæ Magdalenæ
simulacrum ejus insigne Donati opus pristino loco elegantiario
repositum anno 1735."]

[Footnote 181: See p. 199. Moreover, in 1458 Donatello accepted a
commission at Siena for a marble San Bernardino. And the Anonimo
Morelliano mentions four other marble reliefs at Padua.]

[Illustration: _Alinari_

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST

FRARI CHURCH, VENICE]

The statues of St. John at Siena, Berlin, and Venice[182] are closely
analogous to the Magdalen. St. John is the ascetic prophet who spent
years in seclusion, returning from the desert to preach repentance.
These three figures have one curious feature in common--a flavour of
the Orient. The St. John is some fakir, some Buddhist saint. Asiatic
as the Baptist was, it is seldom that Italian art gave him so Eastern
a type; but the explanation is simply that Donatello evolved his own
idea of what a self-centred and fasting mystic would resemble, and his
conception happens to coincide with the outcome of similar conditions
actually put into practice elsewhere. The Berlin bronze is St. John as
Baptist, the others show him with the scroll as Precursor. He always
wears the camel's-hair tunic, which ends just below the knee; at Siena
it is thick, like some woolly fleece; it conceals and broadens the
frame, thus suggesting a stoutness which is not warranted by the
size of the leg. The modelling of legs and arms in these statues is
noteworthy. They are thin, according to Donatello's idea of his
subject; and though the thinness takes the natural form of slender
circumference, one sees that the limb with its angular modelling and
its flat surfaces has _become_ thin: the thinness is explained by the
character. The feet of the Siena bronze are exceptionally good; the
wrist and forearm of the Venice figure are admirable. The Siena
Baptist is nearly life-sized, and was made in 1457. He is the least
introspective of the three, a mature strong man, and the oldest of the
many Baptists Donatello made. The Berlin figure is the flushed
eccentric, holding up the cup he used in baptizing. The figure is half
the size of life, and was doubtless one of the numerous statuettes
which crowned fonts. It has been suggested that this bronze, which is
defective in several places, was commissioned for the Cathedral of
Orvieto in 1423.[183] But the type would appear more advanced than the
busts on the Mandorla doorway or the Siena work made about this time.
Moreover, the contract specifies a St. John _cum signo crucis et
demonstratione ecce agnus Dei_. A Baptist was made at the same time
for Ancona, and is now lost. On first seeing the St. John in Venice
one's impression is to laugh. But he is not really a wild man of the
woods--he is simply covered with and made grotesque by thick masses of
oil paint. A close examination of the figure shows that in some places
the paint is over a quarter of an inch thick, and the last coating it
has received is glutinous in quality, and has been laid on with such
freedom that the position and shape of certain features are altered.
But if seen close at hand, the statue (which it is understood will
shortly be cleaned) shows distinct merits. The modelling of the
extremities is good, and though it is clear that Donatello was never
quite willing to treat St. John as on a par with the other Saints, we
have a systematic and generic rendering of his idea. In some measure
painting was needed as a preservative for wood statues, otherwise it
is difficult to justify the covering of a fine material by paint which
cannot do justice to itself, while it must hide the refinements of the
carving. Donatello worked but little in wood. Crucifixes were commonly
made of it, but the material was one which could never receive _quella
carnosità_ and _morbidezza_[184] of marble or metal. The Greeks
limited their use of it to garden and woodland themes: the Egyptians
used it but little, because they had so few trees. In Donatello's time
it was popular, and came to be regarded as a distinct art. Thus the
Sienese wood-carvers were forbidden to work in stone,[185] but the
great masters like Donatello did not strictly adhere to the rules, and
did not refrain from invading the art of the woodcarver. There is a
large class of statues derived from the four just described. One of
these, attributed to Donatello, is the St. Jerome at Faenza, also made
of wood.[186] Chocolate-coloured paint has been ladled all over the
body. The beard is faint lavender, and the canvas loin-cloth is blue.
The pose and expression are mannered. It is usual to dismiss it in an
offhanded way as a bad and later work; but the modelling shows signs
of skill, and until the paint is removed it is useless to make
guesses. Two bronze statuettes of the Baptist[187] are distinctly
Donatellesque, and made about 1450, though it is impossible to assign
them with certainty to the master himself. Michelozzo's versions of
St. John at Montepulciano, on the Cathedral altar in Florence, and in
the Annunziata, show the influence of Donatello; but the Baptist is a
milder prophet, and no longer the hermit. In the Scalzi at Florence
there is a Baptist which is typical of many others of the same
character. The Magdalen was less copied than the St. John. The version
nearest Donatello himself is in London, a large grim bust;[188] in the
same collection is a relief of her apotheosis, and the Louvre
possesses a similar work.[189] Neither of the latter is by Donatello
himself, but they recall his influence.[190] The large Magdalen in
Santa Trinità at Florence is a good example of the _bottega_.

[Footnote 182: Siena Cathedral, bronze; Berlin Museum, bronze; Frari
Church, Venice, wood.]

[Footnote 183: 10, ii. 1423. On 29, iv. 1423, Donatello received 5
lbs. 3 oz. of wax for modelling the figure. Luzi, "Duomo di Orvieto,"
1867, p. 406.]

[Footnote 184: Vasari, i. 147.]

[Footnote 185: _Che niuno maestro di legname possa fare di pietra._
Rules of Sculptors of Sienna, 1441, ch. 39. Milanesi, i. 120.]

[Footnote 186: In Museum. From the Capella Manfredi in San Girolamo
degli Osservanza outside the town, suppressed in 1866. _Cf._ two
similar statuettes in terra-cotta, Bargello, Nos. 174 and 175.]

[Footnote 187: Louvre, about 12 inches high, unnumbered. Museo
Archeologico, Venice, No. 8. Frau Hainauer's bronze Baptist, signed by
Francesco di San Gallo, is interesting in this connection.]

[Footnote 188: Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 157, 1894.]

[Footnote 189: _Ibid._ No. 7605, 1861, terra-cotta. Louvre, No. 465,
ditto.]

[Footnote 190: _Cf._ Herr von Beckerath's in Berlin, and the
Verrocchio-school Magdalen in the Berlin Gallery, No. 94.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: The Altar at Padua.]

Donatello was fifty-seven when he left Florence in 1443 to spend ten
eventful years at Padua. There he carried out his masterpieces of
bronze for the Cathedral and the equestrian statue of Gattamelata on
the Piazza opposite Donatello's little house, which to this day is
occupied, appropriately enough, by a carver--Bortolo Slaviero,
_tagliapietra_. It is now established that Donatello was invited to
Padua for the Church and that the Gattamelata was not commissioned
until later.[191] At this time Padua was a centre of humanistic
learning and intellectual activity. There was a hive of antiquarians
and collectors, and, according to its lights, a thriving school of
painters.[192] The Florentine Palla Strozzi was living there in
retirement, and he may have been partly responsible for the invitation
to Donatello. But the indigenous art of Padua was dependent on Venice,
and needed some fertilising element. Squarcione with his 140 pupils
founded his art upon traditional and conventional data: had it not
been for Donatello and the radical changes which resulted from his
sojourn at Padua, a fossilised school would have become firmly rooted,
and would probably have influenced the whole of the Veneto. Mantegna
was still young when Donatello arrived, and though there is no reason
to suppose that he received work from Donatello as Squarcione did, it
is clear that, without this influx of Southern ideas, he would have
had some difficulty in shaking off the conventionalisms of his home.
But though Donatello's immediate influence on Paduan art was decisive
(and its ramifications soon extended to Venice), he was himself
influenced by his fresh surroundings, and his native bent towards
complexity was increased. He assimilated many of the local likes and
dislikes. If Gattamelata had been erected in some Florentine square
there would have been less ornament; if Colleone had been commissioned
for Siena there would have been less _braggadocio_. Leonardo never
recovered his Tuscan frame of mind after his sojourn in Milan.
Donatello himself realised these novelties to the full, and their
results upon his art. While he was making the intricate bas-reliefs,
the selective genius of Luca della Robbia was composing the Florence
Lunettes,[193] monumental in their simplicity. And though Vasari
records the enthusiasm with which Donatello's productions were greeted
in the North, the sculptor recognised the dangers of unqualified
praise, and said he must return home to Florence to receive criticism
and censure, the stimulus to better work and greater glory. But the
_maggiore gloria_ was not to be attained. He was old when he left
Padua, and on his departure he had completed the greatest undertaking
of his career--the High Altar of the Santo, with all its marble
setting and the bronze figures. A crucifix, the Madonna and Child, six
saints, a Pietà, twelve panels of angels, four reliefs of St Anthony's
Miracles, the Symbols of the Evangelists, and a large marble
Entombment. Donatello's altar was unfortunately dismantled in the
seventeenth century, and the statues were dispersed throughout the
Church. The altar was reconstructed a few years ago, and the bronzes
have suffered during their exile, but they are still in good
preservation. The new marble altar is a thoughtful and painstaking
construction; its details are derived from Donatellesque motives, and
the bronzes are fitted in with skill. It cannot, however, be in any
sense a reproduction of the old altar, of which no drawing is
preserved. And the earliest description, which has been carefully
followed as far as circumstances allow, shows that the existing
sculpture is incomplete: at least four marble reliefs have been
lost.[194] One may further remark that the twelve angels in high
relief, now forming the face of the altar frontal, are so designed,
especially as regards their aureoled heads, that one concludes it must
have been Donatello's intention for them to have been looked up to
rather than looked down upon. The present arrangement of the altar is
simple and effective. The frontal itself is composed of children
singing and playing music. In the centre is the Pietà, and on either
side is an Evangelist's symbol flanked by two saints on the level of
the top of the altar. The retable has two miracle reliefs, and between
them a small bronze Christ, which has been put there in error. Above
the retable is the Madonna with two saints on either side: the
crucifix surmounts the whole composition. The back of the altar has
the remaining Miracle reliefs and Evangelist symbols, together with
the Entombment.

[Footnote 191: Michael Angelo Gloria; Donatello Fiorentino e le sue
opere ... a Padova, 1895, from which the dates are all quoted.]

[Footnote 192: See Kristeller's Mantegna, translated by S.A. Strong,
1901, p. 17.]

[Footnote 193: Over the Sacristy doors in the Cathedral.]

[Footnote 194: Anonimo Morelliano (1520-40). Ed. of Bassano, 1800, p.
3. _E da dietro l'altar sotto il scabello il Cristo morto, con le
altre figure a circo, e le due figure da man destra con le altre due
da man sinistra, pur de basso rilevo, ma de marmo, furono de mano de
Donatello._]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

SAINT FRANCIS, THE MADONNA, AND SAINT ANTHONY

SANT' ANTONIO, PADUA]


[Sidenote: The Large Statues.]

Of the seven large free-standing statues, that of the Madonna and
Child worthily occupies the central position. Nobody was more modern
than Donatello, nobody less afraid of innovation. But in this Madonna
he went back to archaic ideas, and we have a conception analogous to
the versions of the two previous centuries:[195] indeed, his idea is
still older, for there is something Byzantine in this liturgical
Madonna, who gazes straight in front of her, and far down the nave of
the Santo--a church with mosque-like domes, like those of the early
Eastern architects. The Child is seated in her lap, as in the
earliest representation of the subject: here, however, the Christ
is a child, with an element of helplessness almost indicated, whereas
the primitive idea had been to show the vigour and often the features
of a biggish boy. Donatello's version is much more pathetic, as the
little Christ raises a tiny hand in benediction. The Virgin herself is
of unequalled solemnity, while her young and gracious face, exquisite
in expression and contour, is full of queenly beauty. But there is
still this atmosphere of mystery, an enigmatic aloofness in spite of
the warm human sentiment. The Sphinx's faces, with all their
traditions of secrecy, contribute their share to the cryptic
environment. Donatello uses them as the supports of the throne on
which the Madonna is seated; behind it are Adam and Eve in relief: in
front she herself shows the New Adam to the multitude, on whom he
confers his blessing. St. Francis of Padua [Transcriber's Note: Should
be "Assisi."] stands on the right of the Madonna, as founder of the
Order, and taking precedence of St. Anthony, to whom the church is
dedicated. He holds the crucifix and the book of rules. He is draped
in the ordinary Franciscan habit, which falls round his feet, giving a
stiffness to the figure as seen in profile, and making him appear
rather short when seen from the front. The workmanship is good, the
hands, with lightly shown stigmata, being excellent; but the lack of
distinction in the figure makes one look more closely at the head,
which is modelled with great power and freedom, showing that Donatello
still possessed the vigour and penetration for which the Campanile
prophets are notable. The head is full of character; not perhaps what
one would expect from the apostle of self-abnegation: but it is
determined, strong in the mouth and broad chin. It was, of course,
only meant to be seen a few feet from the ground, and the lines do
not compare in depth with the Habbakuk or the Zuccone; but there is
none the less an analogy in the manner by which Donatello calls in the
assistance of light and shade to add tone and finish to the modelling.
St. Anthony was a deservedly popular saint in Padua, where he preached
and denounced the local tyrant; and he may be accounted the greatest
man of Portuguese birth. But Donatello does not seem to have found the
subject very inspiring. He has taken his idea from rather an ordinary
friar such as he or we might see any day. It is a good homely face,
neither worldly nor spiritual, and only redeemed from the commonplace
by technical ability. St. Daniel is more interesting; the young deacon
is extremely well posed, the plain and massive features being drawn
with a firm and confident touch; and the deacon's vestments, which
always take an easy and becoming fall, are decorated in a typical way
with winged children arbitrarily introduced, and looking more like the
detail of some bas-relief than a piece of embroidered ornament. St.
Justina wears the coronet as princess, and bears the palm-leaf as
martyr. She has no pronounced characteristic, the face being rather
unemotional; but the gesture of her outstretched hand is not without
an appealing dignity. The hair, like that of the Madonna, is parted in
the centre, and stands off from the forehead, and then falls in rich
tresses about her shoulders. It has not the soft and silken texture of
the Madonna's hair, which is rendered with as great a skill as one
sees in the Virgin of the Annunciation. In both these latter cases
Donatello succeeds in giving to the hair an indescribable suggestion
of something full of elasticity and lustre. But St. Justina's hair at
least grows: so many sculptors of ability failed to indicate that
needful quality. St. Procdocimus and St. Louis are of subordinate
merit, and show the work of assistants in several particulars. The
former was first Bishop of Padua and converted the father of St.
Justina to Christianity. At first sight the statue is pleasing, but on
closer examination the weaknesses, especially in the face, become
marked. There is indecision, not in the pose or general idea, but in
the details which give character to the whole conception. The features
are chiselled by a small _mesquin_ personality, and what might have
been a fine statue if carried out by Donatello has been ruined by his
assistants. The ewer which the Bishop carries is a later addition,
from the design of which one might almost argue that the statue itself
is later than the others.[196] The St. Louis, wearing his episcopal
robes above the Franciscan habit, his mitre decorated with a
fleur-de-lys of royal France, is also hammered all over, giving the
bronze the appearance of being dotted with little pin-holes. The head
is, however, marked by the grave austerity for which the St. Louis in
Santa Croce is so remarkable, and which became the typical rendering
of the saint in fifteenth-century plastic art. However much Donatello
may have allowed a free hand to his assistants in this statue, the
fine qualities of the head are attributable to a strict adherence to
his own sketch. The last of the great bronze figures is the crucifix
above the high altar. It is magnificent, apart from the technical
qualities which rival Donatello's most brilliant achievements. All the
lines droop together in a wonderful _cadenza_; the face is
transfigured by human pain, but all the superhuman power remains.
Donatello combines the literal and symbolical meaning of the Cross;
the Godhead is still there. Donatello did not forget that the
crucified Christ, when represented by the sculptor, had to preserve
all the immortality of the Son of God. His _contadino_ Christ in
Florence has its interest in art; this Christ marks the summit of his
plastic ability; but it shows that, without any appeal to terror or
emotionalism, without, indeed, suppressing the signs of physical pain,
Donatello was able to give an overwhelming portrait of Christ's agony.
The celestial and the terrestrial are unified and fused into one
tremendous concentration of human suffering, tempered by divine power.

[Footnote 195: _Cf._, for instance, the Madonna over the door of the
Pisa Baptistery.]

[Footnote 196: _Cf._ drawings of ewers in Uffizzi by Giacomone da
Faenza, sixteenth century.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

MIRACLE OF THE SPEAKING BABE

SANT' ANTONIO, PADUA]


[Illustration: _Alinari_

MIRACLE OF THE MISER'S HEART

SANT' ANTONIO, PADUA]


[Illustration: _Alinari_

MIRACLE OF THE MULE

SANT' ANTONIO, PADUA]


[Sidenote: The Bronze Reliefs.]

The four panels of Miracles take the highest rank among Donatello's
bas-reliefs. Their size is considerable, being about four feet long.
They have one theme in common, namely, the supernatural gifts of St.
Anthony and the veneration of the populace. Donatello's crowds are
admirable; they are deep crowds. The people are rather hot and
jostling each other: they stand on benches or stairs in order to get a
better view of what is proceeding. The edges of the crowds, where the
people are too far off to be active spectators, lose interest in the
central incident; they gossip as bystanders or sit down: often they
are shown actually leaving the place. It is singular how ill-designed
many of the classical crowds are, especially the battle-scenes: they
are constructed without regard for the human necessity of standing on
something; and we have grotesque topsy-turvy compositions, the
individual parts of which are unrivalled in technique.[197] Michael
Angelo's first and last representation of a crowd in sculpture shows
the same fault, which, indeed, was far from uncommon.[198] It arose
from a desire to show more of the crowd than could be naturally seen
from the eye level, and the whole relief was consequently covered with
figures, the background proper being suppressed. In these Paduan
reliefs Donatello manages to give ample density and variety, and there
is never any doubt as to the ownership of legs or arms. His early
relief at Siena, on the other hand, has a group where there is
confusion, which is not justified in a quiet gathering of people.
Another feature which the four reliefs have in common is Donatello's
treatment of narrative. Ghiberti's plan was to put several incidents
into one relief, forming a sequence of events leading up to the
critical episode, to which he usually gave the best place in the
foreground. He consistently followed up his formula in the second
gates, and brought the practice to its perfection. Whether suitable or
not for gates, it would have been an intelligible treatment of purely
decorative reliefs, like those at Padua. Donatello, however, confines
his plaques to single incidents: in one case only does he add a second
detail, and there only as a corroborative fact. The narrative is shown
in the crowd itself. Attitudes and expression are made to reflect the
spirit of what has gone before, while the actual occurrence suffices
to show the final issue of the story. Thus we have all the ideas of
which others would have made a series of subordinate scenes:
incredulity, fear, surprise, mockery, apathy and worship. The crowd
shows everything which has already passed, and the composition of the
bas-reliefs thus secures a striking homogeneity. It is difficult to
say which of them is best. The variety in dress, scene and physiognomy
is so remarkable; varying, no doubt, according to the tastes of the
_garzone_ responsible for finishing it. Probably the miracle of the
Speaking Babe is the best known. A nobleman of Ferrara doubted the
honour of his wife; St. Anthony conferred the power of speech on her
infant child, which proclaimed its mother's innocence. Donatello has
put an exquisite little Madonna and Child just above the central
figures of the legend. The composition of this group, as in the
others, is broken by the architecture, otherwise the length of the
bronzes might have tended to a monotonous row of figures. But the
projecting background does not make the episode less coherent. The
mother is just receiving back her baby from the saint; behind her are
women, friends and others; whereas the opposite side of the relief is
entirely occupied by men, who are around her husband; and the
suggested conflict of the sexes is averted by the miracle. The
husband, who wears an odd sort of _bonnet tricolore_, and several of
his comrades are simply dressed in short cloaks open at the sides and
ending just below the hip. The legs and arms, and especially the
hands, are very well modelled. In this relief the actors are quiet and
decorous, and where not motionless are moving slowly. The miracle of
the Miser's Heart is more emotional: "where thy heart is there shall
thy treasure be also." The miser having died, St. Anthony said that
his heart would be found in his strong box: this was proved to be the
case, and then when the body was opened it was found that his heart
was absent. The scene is nominally inside a church: in the background
is a procession of clergy and choristers with their cross and candles.
In the centre is the bier with the corpse lying on it. The body is
opened and the crowd looks on in feverish though suppressed
excitement. St. Anthony is pointing towards the dead man: and the
crowd realises that the heart is absent--_ubi thesaurus ibi cor_.
Numbers of people have dropped on to their knees, others kiss the
ground where the saint stands. There are signs of distress and
apprehension on all sides. Some children scuttle back to their
parents; one of the mothers bends down to catch her child just as it
is going to fall. Two boys have climbed on to an altar or pedestal to
get a better view: one of them wears the peaked cap still worn by the
undergraduates of _Padova la dotta_. The whole scene is immensely
dramatic and grim, without any frenzy or excess; and its solemn effect
is enhanced by the reserve of the people in spite of their excitement.
The background is full of detail, largely obtained by the chisel: one
part of it, with the stairs, ladders and upper storey, resembles the
Lille relief. There are two important inscriptions, cut into the
metal, to which reference will be made later. The subject of the third
relief (now placed on the retable and already getting dimmed by
candle-grease) is the healing of the youth Leonardo, who kicked his
mother and confessed to St. Anthony, who properly observed that so
sinful a foot should be cut off. The injunction was taken too
literally, and the saint's miraculous power replaced the severed limb.
Strictly speaking, this miracle takes place in the open air, for
Donatello has introduced a rudimentary sun with most symmetrical rays,
and half a dozen clouds which look like faults in the casting. But the
whole relief is framed by an architectural structure, some
amphitheatre with the seats ranged like steps. A balustrade runs all
round the huge building, and a number of idlers standing about at the
far end are reduced to insignificant proportions, thus giving
distance and depth to the scene. Leonardo lies on the ground in sad
pain, and Anthony has just restored the foot. The central group is not
much animated, but two or three of the men's heads are telling
character-studies. Donatello has concentrated his crowd into the
centre: at the sides the miracle passes unheeded. A fat man is
soliloquising with his hand reposing on an ample stomach: a boy with a
long stick and something like a knapsack on his back is attracting the
attention of a young woman, who seems absorbed in watching the
miracle: her child tries to pull her along to go closer. In the corner
are some strange recumbent figures, almost classical in idea; and a
tall woman completely veiled, with her face buried in her hands. The
last of the reliefs illustrates St. Anthony's power over animals. One
Bovidilla, a sceptic, possessed a mule; the saint offered the
consecrated wafer to the animal when starving, and Bovidilla was
converted by the refusal of the animal to eat it. The scene takes
place within a church, which, so far as we see the apse and choir, is
composed of three symmetrical chapels with vaulted and coffered roofs.
There is plenty of classical detail, but still more of the
Renaissance; there is no occasion to assume the design to have been
copied from the Tempio di Pace or the Caracalla baths. St. Anthony
occupies the centre, and the kneeling mule is on the right, his master
close at hand. The church is crowded with people, who, on the whole,
show more curiosity than reverence. Several garrulous boys by the door
are amused; an old beggar hobbles in; a mother tries to keep a child
quiet. Others take any post they can secure, and a good many are
crouching on the ground in all sorts of postures, making a variety
which amounts to unevenness. In all these panels the head of St.
Anthony is of a finer type than that shown in the other version on
the altar. The features are clear cut, and there is an air of earnest
distinction which is not observed on the large statue. Speaking
generally, one notices that while ample scope is allowed to the
fancies of picturesque architecture in all these reliefs, Donatello
always keeps it within proper bounds. Donatello was not tempted into
the interacting problems of perspective and _intarsia_, which caused
so many Paduan artists to lose grasp of the wider aspects of their
calling. Then we notice how the crowd _qua_ crowd plays its proper
part: out of some two hundred faces in these panels not more than two
or three look out to the spectator--a quality inherited by Mantegna.
The reliefs are essentially local pictures of local significance; not
only the costume, but the types are Paduan, such as we find in the
local school of painting: but we find nothing of the kind in Donatello
before the journey to the north, and the types scarcely reappear on
the altar of San Lorenzo. But, in spite of this, the reliefs have a
catholicity which extends their influence far beyond the limits within
which Donatello confined his work. Finally, the wealth of local
colouring and animation makes these reliefs among the earliest in
which "genre" or "conversation" has prominence. They offer a most
striking contrast to the sedate Florentine crowds painted in the
Brancacci chapel by Masaccio.

[Footnote 197: _Cf._ Battle of Romans and Barbarians, No. 12. Museo
Nazionale, Rome.]

[Footnote 198: Battle, Casa Buonarroti, Florence.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

SYMBOL OF ST. MATTHEW

SANT' ANTONIO, PADUA]


[Sidenote: The Symbols of the Evangelists.]

There are four other bronze reliefs, the Symbols of the Evangelists.
Donatello has contrived to invest these somewhat awkward themes with
alternate drama and poetry. The emblems of Ezekiel's vision were too
intricate for Western art, and long before the fifteenth century they
had been reduced to the simple forms of the lion, ox, eagle and angel,
with no attribute except wings. All four reliefs are rectangular,
about eighteen inches square. The ox is, of course, the least
inspiring, and here as elsewhere is treated in a dry perfunctory
manner. The oxen on the façade of Laon Cathedral offered some scope to
the sculptor, being life-sized; but in a small relief the subject was
not attractive. The lion is more vigorously treated. As a work of
natural history he is better than the Marzocco, and he has a certain
heraldic extravagance as well. The limbs have tension, the muscles are
made of steel, and there is strength and watchfulness, attributes
which led the early architects to rest the pilasters of the pulpit and
portal upon lions' backs. But the eagle of St. John is superb, even
grander than the famous classical marble of the same subject.[199] It
has the broad expanse of wings, vibrating as though the bird were
about to take flight: the long lithe body with its soft pectoral
feathers, the striking claws, and the flattened head with cruel
gleaming eye, all combine to give a _terribilità_ which is, perhaps,
unsurpassed in all the countless versions of the symbol. But the drama
of the eagle is eclipsed by the quiet unostentatious poetry of the
angel of St. Matthew. We see a girl of intense grace and refinement,
winged as an angel and looking modestly downwards to the open gospel
in her hands. Delicacy is the keynote pervading every detail of the
relief: in her hands, arms and throat, in the soft curves of the young
frame, and in the drapery itself, which suggests all that is dainty
and pure--everywhere, in fact, we find charm and tenderness, rare even
in a man like Ghiberti, almost unique in Donatello.

[Footnote 199: The Walpole Eagle from the Tiber, belonging to the Earl
of Wemyss.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: The Choir of Angels.]

In the original contract with Donatello, ten angels were commissioned,
and were exhibited on the provisional wooden altar (13, vi. '48). It
appears, however, that they were insufficient, and two more panels
were ordered. These may possibly be the reliefs in each of which a
couple of angels are represented singing, certainly the most
successful of all. There is a palpable inequality in the remainder.
They not only show differences of treatment in the details of drapery,
chiselling and general decoration, but there is a substantial lack of
harmony in their broad conception. It is impossible to believe that
the two angels leaning inwards against the edge of the relief (the
fourth respectively from either end of the altar) could have been
modelled by Donatello. Not only are they vulgar and commonplace, but
they are malformed: well might Donatello long for criticism and
censure if these two stupid little urchins were standards of his
production. Next to one of these pipers is a child playing the lute,
delicious in every respect: he is made by the genius, the other by the
hack. They contrast in every particular--drapery, anatomy, face and
technique. The lutist is admirable as he looks down at his instrument
to catch the note; capital also is the boy playing the double pipe,
with the close drapery swirling about his plump limbs, as one sees in
San Francesco of Rimini, that temple dedicated to Isotta and to
Childhood. The head of the boy playing the harp shows the best
characteristics of this group. The hair is relatively short, and falls
in thick glossy ringlets over his ears; it is bound by a heavy chaplet
of leaves and rosettes; above this wreath the hair is smooth and
orderly. There was no occasion to exclude the pleasing little touches,
as in the case of the Cantoria children, where deep holes penetrate
the children's hair, so that the "distance should not consume the
diligence." At Padua, where the choristers were to be seen a few feet
only from the ground, the sculptor's efforts to show the warm shades
and recesses of the hair were amply repaid. The boys singing the duets
differ from the remainder: they are busily occupied with their music,
carefully following the score. The disposition of two children in a
panel only large enough for one has not been so successfully met as
when Abraham and Isaac were fitted into the narrow niche on the
Campanile; but the affectionate attitude of these boys and their
sincerity make one overlook a slight technical shortcoming. The two
heads in close proximity give a certain sense of atmosphere between
them, not easily rendered when one of them had to be modelled in
comparatively high-relief.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

CHORISTERS

SANT' ANTONIO, PADUA]


[Illustration: _Alinari_

CHORISTERS

SANT' ANTONIO, PADUA]


[Illustration: CHRIST MOURNED BY ANGELS

LONDON]


[Sidenote: The Pietà and the Entombment.]

The remaining work for the high altar consists of a marble Entombment
and a bronze relief of Christ mourned by Angels, treated as a Pietà.
The tabernacle door, which occupies the centre of the high altar,
differs in shape, quality and design from everything else, and is
wholly unworthy of its prominent position. The lower relief is,
however, a work of exceptional interest. It is placed in the centre of
the frontal with the reliefs of choristers on either side of it, a
tragic culmination to all the happy children around it. The Christ is
resting upright in the tomb, half of the figure only being visible.
The head is bowed and the hands crossed: the face is wan and haggard.
The body is modelled to emphasise the pronounced lines of the big
curve formed by the ribs from which the lower part of the body is fast
sinking: Donatello did the same thing with the crucifix. An angel
stands at each side of the Christ, holding up a curtain or pall behind
the figure. Each of these boys has a hand pressed against his cheek,
the picture of tragedy: they weep over the dead Saviour, their anguish
is indescribable. In the marble version of the same subject in
London,[200] the angels are actually supporting the Christ, who,
without their maintenance, would fall down. His head is resting
against one of the children's hands: one of the arms has slipped down
inanimate, while the other hangs over the shoulder of the second
angel, a consummate rendering of what is dead: the veins are tumified,
the skin is shrinking, and the muscles are uncontrolled. This Christ
is in some ways the more remarkable plastic achievement, though it is
not so characteristic as the Paduan version. The two reliefs are
probably coeval, though that in London, with its attendant angels, has
indications of being rather earlier in date, and almost shows the hand
of Michelozzo in one or two details. But the head of Christ, with its
short thin beard, and the hair held back by a corded fillet, is
similar to much that is exclusively Paduan. The Entombment, a very
large marble relief, consists of eight life-sized figures, four of
whom are lowering the body into the sepulchre. Here for the first time
we have that frenzied and impassioned scene which became so common in
Northern Italy. The Entombment on the St. Peter's Tabernacle is
insipid by the side of this, where grief leads the Magdalen to tear
out thick handfuls of her hair; others throw up their hands as they
abandon themselves, as they scream in ungovernable sorrow. It is a
riot of woe, and the more solemn figures who are engaged with the dead
body have grown grey with care. This relief dates a new departure: the
Entombment and other episodes of the Passion henceforward lose their
calm emblematic character, and are fraught with tragedy and gloom.
Donatello's relief became the prototype for the Bellini, for Mantegna,
and a host of artists who, without, perhaps, having seen the original,
drew their inspiration from what it had already inspired. For a while
this intensification of the last scenes of Christ's life bore good
fruit for art, especially in the northern provinces: but after a
certain point nervous exhaustion ensued and produced a kind of
hysteria, where the Magdalen's tears must end in convulsive laughter,
and where the tragedy is so demonstrative that the solemn element is
utterly lost.[201] The profound pathos and teaching of the earlier
scenes were exchanged for what was theatrical. But Tragedy always held
a place in Italian, or rather in Christian art: it was out of place in
antiquity. The smiling and perennial youth of the gods, their
happinesses, loves, and adventures, gave relatively small scope for
the personal aspects of tragedy. There was no need for vicarious or
redemptive suffering: what pain existed, and they rarely expressed it
in marble, was human in its origin and punitive in effect: Icarus,
Niobe, Laocoon, Prometheus; and even here the proprieties of good
taste imposed strict limits, beyond which the portrayal of tragedy
could not go without violating unwritten laws. It had to occupy a
secondary place in their art: the dying gladiator was merely a broken
toy tossed aside. Their tragedies were largely limited to Nemesis, the
Moirai, the Erinnydes, and lower forms, such as harpies. But
occasionally one gets a breath of mediævalism and its haunting
mysteries. The Sleeping Fury at Rome, for instance,[202] where sleep
steals in during a moment of respite from torture, is superb, and,
moreover, stands almost alone in its presentment of a certain
impelling tragedy, which, with the advent of Christianity, became an
integral and dominating feature of its art.

[Footnote 200: Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 7577, 1861. M.G.
Dreyfus has a fine plaquette analogous to these large reliefs.]

[Footnote 201: _Cf._, for instance, Madame André's Pietà lunette, or
the stone "Lamentation" in Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 314, 1878,
almost German in its harsh realism. This came from the Palazzo Lazzara
at Padua.]

[Footnote 202: In Ludovisi Buoncompagni Collection, Museo Nazionale,
marble. _Cf._ also the bust of Minatia Polla, so called, which might
be by Verrocchio.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

SUPER ALTAR BY GIOVANNI DA PISA

EREMITANI CHURCH, PADUA]


[Sidenote: Donatello's Assistants.]

The variety of workmanship at Padua would be an infallible proof that
Donatello had the assistance of a number of disciples, even if we had
no documentary evidence on the point. Bandinelli refers to their
numbers: when needing help he wrote to the Grand Duke saying that
Donatello always had eighteen or twenty assistants, without whose aid
it would have been impossible for him to have made the Paduan
altar.[203] But we also possess bills, contracts, and schedules, in
which we can find the names of Donatello's _garzoni_. The work, it
must be remembered, was not wholly confined to sculpture: among the
earliest recorded payment to Donatello is that for structural work on
the Loggia (30, iii. 1444). Giovanni Nani of Florence was already
engaged there (3, iii. 43) as a sort of master mason on Donatello's
arrival: he made the marble pedestal for the crucifix (19, vi. 47),
and several others are mentioned in a subordinate capacity, such as
Niccolo Cocaro (23, iv. 49), Meo and Pipo of Florence (30, iv. 49),
Antonio of Lugano, _taia pria_ (12, v. 49); Bartolomeo of Ferrara went
to Valstagna to open up the quarry--_una montagna de lo alabastro_
(13, viii. 46). Employment was also given to Jacomo, a goldsmith (9,
v. 48), to Squarcione the painter (21, xi. 47), to Moscatelo, the
maker of majolica (v. 49), and to Giovanni da Becato, who made a metal
grille behind the altar. Francesco del Mayo and Andrea delle Caldiere
were the chief bronze casters; a dozen or fifteen other names are
recorded. None of these can have had much influence on the sculpture
itself; but there were men of greater calibre, Giovanni da Pisa,
Urbano da Cortona, Antonio Celino of Pisa, and Francesco Valente of
Florence. Though called _garzoni_ and _disipoli_ of Donatello (June
and Sept. 47), they soon became men of trained capacity, and were
specifically mentioned in some of the contracts. Thus it appears that
each was entrusted with one of the evangelist's symbols; they were
also largely responsible for the bronze choristers (27, iv. 46). Their
whims and idiosyncrasies are visible in many particulars: in the halos
for instance. The gospel emblems all have halos, likewise most of the
singing children, whereas there are none on the Madonna and the great
statues of canonised saints on the altar. But it is impossible here to
enter upon the most interesting problem of their respective shares on
the altar sculpture, and how far they were independent of Donatello
beyond the chiselling and polishing of the bronze; the subject would
need discussion at too great length. It is, however, worth while to
refer to some of their work, for which they were exclusively
responsible. Thus the Fulgosio tomb in the Santo, and the superaltar
in the Eremitani at Padua (though much disfigured by paint), show
that Giovanni da Pisa was influenced by Donatello to a remarkable
degree. The composition of the altar consists of a broad relief of the
Madonna with three saints on either side of her: below it is a
_predella_ divided into three panels; above, a frieze of dancing
children similar to those on the pulpits of San Lorenzo. The
composition is crowned by a tympanum and _putti_ suggested by
Donatello's Annunciation. Several of the larger figures might almost
be the work of Donatello, though the personality of Giovanni makes
itself felt throughout. Urbano of Cortona was another interesting man.
He received a commission to decorate the chapel of the Madonna delle
Grazie in the Sienese Cathedral,[204] and he had to make the Symbols
of the Evangelists: _nel fregio ... si debi fare IIII. evangelisti in
forma d'animali_. Donatello himself, _excellentissimus sculptor, seu
magister sculture_,[205] was commissioned later on to work in this
chapel; but there can be no doubt that the angel of St. Matthew, now
preserved in the Opera del Duomo,[206] is the work of Urbano. It is
the identical design of the emblem on the Paduan altar, pleasant in
its way, but differing in all the material elements of charm; but it
is an important document in that it shows a further stage in the
evolution of Donatello through the hand of a painstaking pupil. Of
Celino and Valente our knowledge is less--perhaps because there was
never any friction between the master and his assistants, which gives
so unenviable a record to the relation of Michael Angelo with his
pupils.[207] The two inscriptions on the background of the Miracle of
the Miser's Heart, read as follows: "S. ANT. DI GIOV DE SE E
SUOR[=U]": and "[=S] DI PIERO E BARTOLOMEO E SU[=O]." They have been
variously interpreted. Some have suggested that they indicate the
names of donors, or that the letter s means _sepulchrum_, and that
they are in the nature of epitaphs. It would seem more probable that
they are signatures of those who were occupied in giving final touches
to the chiselling of the background.

[Footnote 203: 7, xii. 1549. Printed in Bottari, ii. 70.]

[Footnote 204: 19, x. 1451. Milanesi, ii. 271.]

[Footnote 205: 17. x. 1457; _ibid._ 295.]

[Footnote 206: Marble, No. 149.]

[Footnote 207: The rules of the Sienese guild of painters provided
against strife within their own circles by imposing a fine upon
whoever _dicesse vilania o parole ingiuriose al retore_: Art. 55.
Milanesi, i. 25.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

TOMB OF GIOVANNI, SON OF GENERAL GATTAMELATA

PADUA]


[Illustration: _Alinari_

TOMB OF GENERAL GATTAMELATA

SANT' ANTONIO, PADUA]


[Illustration: SHRINE OF ST. JUSTINA

LONDON]


[Sidenote: Bellano and the Gattamelata Tombs.]

One other sculptor, Bellano, is said by Vasari to have been so much
affected by Donatello's influence that the work of the two men was
often indistinguishable. This places Bellano too high. Scardeone, it
is true, says he was _mirus coelatura_;[208] but Gauricus is more
accurate in calling him _ineptus artifex_.[209] He was really a
lugubrious person, though on rare occasions he made a good thing,
such, for instance, as the statuette of St. Jerome, belonging to M.
Gustave Dreyfus. But his large bas-relief of St. Anthony and the
Mule[210] is stiff and laboured. The tomb of Roycelli, the _monarcha
sapientie_ in the Santo, with its wealth of poverty-stricken
decoration, shows that Bellano was a man who could work on a large
scale, but whose sense of fitness and harmony was weak. So also the
Roccabonella fragments, in spite of a rugged, rough-hewn appearance,
show an absence of ethical and intellectual qualities; while the fussy
and breathless reliefs round the choir of the Santo are farcical in
several respects. There was another man influenced by Donatello, who
must be nameless pending further investigation: his style cannot be
identified with anything on the great altar, but he was a sculptor of
immense power. He made the so-called shrine of Santa Giustina in
London,[211] and the two Gattamelata monuments in the Santo. These
tombs are very simple, consisting of the effigies of the two
Condottieri, fully armed, but with bared heads. Below is a broad stone
relief of children holding the scroll between them, as on the Coscia
tomb in Florence. Above is a lunette containing painting, the whole
composition being framed by a severe moulding, and surmounted by the
family crest and badge. They are most remarkable. The two recumbent
figures lie calm and peaceful: they show the ennobling aspect of
death, the belief in a further existence. This sculptor with his
sensitive touch makes us realise the migration. To "make the good end"
was, indeed, a product of Christianity: antiquity was content if a
man parted from life "handsomely." Greek art can, of course, show no
sign of the Christian virtues of death. Like the Egyptians, their
object was to present the dead as still alive, even where the aid
of fiction had to be invoked. To them sleep and death are often
indistinguishable; often again one is left in doubt as to which of the
figures on a funeral relief represents the departed. With death the
human body, having ceased to be the home of life, ceased also to be a
welcome theme of art. These two Gattamelatas, father and son, have
fought the good fight, and in the carved effigy acquire a statuesque
repose which is full of dignity and pathos. The famous warrior of
Ravenna, Guido Guidarelli as he is called, though of a later date, is
fashioned in the same spirit; showing, moreover, certain peculiarities
in the armour which one notices in the tombs at Padua. The d'Alagni
monument in S. Domenico at Naples, and a tomb in the Carmine of Pisa,
are similar in respect of sentiment. So, too, is the shrine of Santa
Giustina in London, of which the details as well as the organic
treatment leave no doubt as to its authorship, so closely does it
resemble the tomb of Giovanni Gattamelata. It is a work of singular
refinement and beauty. We see the recumbent figure of the saint on the
façade of a sarcophagus, at either side of which are little angels
made by the same hand and at the same date as those on Giovanni's
tomb. Santa Giustina is modelled in low-relief; the sculptor seems to
draw in the stone, and the drapery is like linen: not a blanket or
counterpane, but some thin clinging material which is moulded to the
form below. In some ways this precious work is analogous to the more
famous bas-relief belonging to the Earl of Wemyss, the St. Cecilia
which has been ascribed to Donatello. This wonderful thing is not well
known: it has been seldom exhibited, and the photograph by which it is
usually judged is taken from a reproduction moulded a generation ago.
The original, of rather slaty Lavagna stone, has never been
photographed, and the cast, many thousands of which exist, entirely
fails to show the intangible and diaphanous qualities of the original.
The widespread popularity of the St. Cecilia would (if possible) be
enhanced were we more familiar with the genuine work itself. It is
certainly one of the most accomplished examples of Italian plastic
art; not, indeed, by Donatello himself, for there is a softness and
glamour which cannot be associated with his chisel. But it has the
unequalled tenderness and grace for which the Gattamelata tomb is
so notable, placing its nameless author in the highest ranks of
Italian sculpture.

[Footnote 208: "De antiq. urbis Patavii," 1560, p. 374.]

[Footnote 209: "De Sculptura," 1504, gathering f.]

[Footnote 210: Marble, in Sacristy of S. Antonio.]

[Footnote 211: Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 75, 1879.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

GENERAL GATTAMELATA

PADUA]


[Sidenote: Gattamelata.]

Erasmo Narni, General Gattamelata, died in 1443, and the Venetians,
whom he had honourably served, granted the privilege of a site in the
tributary town of Padua for the monument, the cost of which was borne
by the family of the dead Condottiere. Donatello had to reconstruct
the anatomy of a horse on a colossal scale. He was faced by the
formidable task of making the first equestrian bronze statue erected
in Italy during the Renaissance, and no model existed except the
antique statue of Marcus Aurelius at Rome. Donatello was, however,
familiar with the four horses on the façade of San Marco at Venice. He
undertook to complete the Gattamelata monument by September 1453, but
the bulk of the casting was finished as early as 1448, though the
chiselling and chasing of the bronze required further work for two or
three years. The statue was placed on the pedestal before the agreed
date, and a conference was held at Venice to settle the price.[212]
There were four assessors on either side, and it was finally agreed
that the total payment should be a sum equivalent to about two
thousand guineas in our own day. Donatello does not seem to have been
hampered by his lack of experience. The work is adroitly handled, the
technical difficulty of welding the large pieces of bronze is
successfully overcome, and the metal is firm and self-supporting.
There are faults, of course, though the fact that the horse ambles
need not be considered an error. But the relative proportions of the
horse and rider are not quite accurately preserved, Gattamelata being,
if anything, rather below the right scale. The monument is, however,
so massive and grandiose that criticism seems out of place; indeed, in
the presence of the statue one feels that everything is subordinated
to the power and mastery of Gattamelata himself. The general is
bareheaded, and the strong courageous face is modelled with directness
and energy. The gesture is commanding, and he rides easily in the
saddle. Colleone's statue at Venice is superior in many ways: yet the
radical distinction between them is that whereas Gattamelata is the
faithful portrait of a modest though successful warrior, it must be
confessed that Verrocchio makes an idealised soldier of fortune, full
of bravado and swagger, a _Malbrook s'en va-t-en guerre_ of the
Quattrocento. But, striking as the contrast of sentiment is,
noticeable alike in the artist and his model, these two statues remain
the finest equestrian monuments in the world, their one possible rival
being Can Grande at Verona. Donatello has decorated Gattamelata's
saddle and armour with a mass of delicate and vivacious detail, which
modifies the severity without distracting the eye. The _putti_ which
act as pommels to the saddle are delightful little figures, and the
damascened and chased fringes of the armour are excellent. Moreover,
the armour does not overweight the figure. The horse, of rather a
thick and "punchy" breed, is well suited to carry a heavy load; he is
full of spirit, and is neighing and chafing, as the old critics
pointed out. An enormous wooden horse, some twenty-four feet long, is
preserved in the Sala della Raggione at Padua. It used to belong to
the Capodalista family, and has been considered Donatello's model
for the Gattamelata charger. This is unlikely, and it was more
probably used in some procession, being ridden by a huge emblematic
figure. It is improbable that Donatello should have done more than
sketch the design; but the head of the horse is admirable, with the
feathery ears and bushy topknot which one finds in the Venice
quadriga, on Gattamelata's steed, and on the colossal bronze head of a
horse now preserved in the Naples Museum. This used to be considered
an antique, but it is now established beyond all question that
Donatello made it; and it was presented in 1471 to Count Mataloni by
Lorenzo de' Medici. It is an interesting work, defective in some
places, and treated similarly to classical examples; indeed, Donatello
was obviously influenced in all his equine statuary by the most
obvious classical horses at his command, namely, those at Venice. He
does not seem to have taken ideas from the Marcus Aurelius, which he
had not seen for upwards of ten years when commissioned to make the
Gattamelata. The base of the statue is simple, but scarcely worthy of
the monument it supports. The pedestal made by Leopardi for the
Colleone monument is both more decorative and dignified. On
Donatello's pedestal there are two marble reliefs of winged boys
holding the general's helmet, badge and cuirass. The reliefs on the
monument are copies of the maimed originals now preserved in a dark
passage of the Santo cloister. There must be many statues elsewhere,
now taken for originals, which are nothing more than replicas of what
had gradually perished. If one closely examines the sculpture on some
of the church façades--Siena Cathedral, for instance--one finds that
most of the statues are only held together by numberless metal ties
and clamps; and one may safely assume that many of those in really
good condition have been placed there at later dates.

[Footnote 212: 29, vi. 1453. Donatello is still described as _abitante
in Padova_.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

COLLEONE

VENICE]


[Sidenote: Smaller Reliefs and Plaquettes.]

The Gattamelata reliefs seem to be sixteenth-century work. They show a
detail of which Donatello and his scholars were fond, namely, the
Medusa's head. It reappears on the Martelli Patera[213] and on the
sword-hilt in the Royal Armoury at Turin. The former has been ascribed
to Donatello, but the attribution is untenable. It is a bronze
medallion of a Satyr and Bacchante, executed with much skill, but not
recalling the spirit or handling of Donatello. It is an admirable
example of the bronze-work which became popular in Northern Italy, to
which Donatello gave the initial impetus, and which soon became
ultra-classical in style. The sword-hilt is more interesting, and it
is signed "Opus Donatelli Flo." Some of the detail has a richness
which might suggest rather a later date; but the general outline,
especially the small crouching _putti_, was, no doubt, designed by the
master. The history of this curious and unusual specimen is unknown,
and it is outside Donatello's sphere of activity. Michael Angelo, it
may be remembered, also had the caprice of making a sword for the
Aldobrandini family. The manufacture of plaquettes, small bronze
plates which were widely used for decorating caskets, inkstands,
candlesticks, &c., became a specialised art; and some of these dainty
reliefs are possibly made from Donatello's own designs. There are,
however, a few larger bronzes of greater importance in which his
personality was able to assert itself more freely than in the reduced
plaquettes. But the work of scholars and imitators has been
frequently mistaken for Donatello's own productions. Thus the Ambras
(Vienna) relief of the Entombment, with its exaggerated ideas of
classical profile, must be the work of a scholar. The Sportello at
Venice[214] also shows later Renaissance decoration in its rich
arabesques, though two hands seem to have been employed--the four
central _putti_ and the two angels being more Donatellesque than the
remainder. The relief of the Flagellation in Paris[215] is more
important, as we have a rugged and severe treatment both in the
subject and its execution: but the summary treatment of such details
as the hair makes one doubtful if Donatello can have been wholly
responsible. A somewhat analogous Flagellation in Berlin[216] is the
work of a clever but halting plagiarist. He has inserted a
Donatellesque background of arches showing the lines of stonework, and
a pleasant detached girl who reminds us of the figure on the Siena and
St. George reliefs. But the imitator's weak hand is betrayed by the
anatomy of the three principal figures. The positions are those of
force and energy, but there is no tension or muscular effort, and
there is no vestige of vigour in the rounded backs and soft limbs.
Even if Donatello furnished the original sketch, it is quite
impossible that he should have executed or approved the carving.
Madame André's Martyrdom of St. Sebastian is work in which the
finishing-touches were probably added by a pupil, but this striking
composition shows dramatic qualities which one must associate with
Donatello himself. So also the tondo Madonna belonging to M. Gustave
Dreyfus, in which the figures are ranged behind a balustrade, making
the "garden enclosed"--a popular symbolical treatment of the Virgin
and Child--is doubtless from one of Donatello's designs.[217] Though
imperfect, the London Deposition or Lamentation[218] is an important
work, and has a value as showing the methods of fastening figures in
relief on to the foundation of the background, though in this case the
bulk of the background is missing. Three other reliefs should be
mentioned, all representing Christ on the Cross. Of these, the Berlin
example,[219] though sadly injured since its acquisition for the
museum, is notable; being, in fact, a genuine sketch by Donatello
himself, and in a degree comparable to the clay study of the same
subject in London.[220] The bronze relief, belonging to Comte Isaac de
Camondo in Paris, is a most remarkable work of the Paduan period.
Donatello has succeeded in conveying the sense of desolating tragedy
without any adventitious aid of violence or movement. The whole thing
is massive, and treated with a studied simplicity which concentrates
the silence and loneliness of the scene. It is superb, and superior to
a varied treatment of the same subject in the Bargello. In this
well-known relief the crowded scene is full of turmoil and confusion.
In the foreground are the relatives and disciples of Christ. Many
soldiers are introduced, some of whom closely resemble the tall
men-at-arms in Mantegna's frescoes at Padua. Donatello's hand is
obvious in the angels and in the three crucified figures, which are
modelled with masterly conviction. The rest of the composition has
been ruthlessly gilded and chased until the statuesque lines are lost
in a mass of tiresome detail; which is regrettable, for the conception
is fine.

[Footnote 213: Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 8717, 1863.]

[Footnote 214: Museo Archeologico, Doge's Palace.]

[Footnote 215: Louvre, "His de la Salle Collection," No. 385.]

[Footnote 216: Marble, No. 39 B.]

[Footnote 217: _Cf._ a Donatellesque stucco Madonna beneath a
_baldachino_ belonging to Signor Bardini, who also possesses a stucco
Entombment similar to the London bronze.]

[Footnote 218: Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 8552, 1863. Bronze.]

[Footnote 219: Stucco No. 41.]

[Footnote 220: See p. 62.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

MADONNA AND CHILD

SIENA CATHEDRAL]


[Illustration: _W.A. Mansell_

"PAZZI" MADONNA

BERLIN]


[Sidenote: The Madonnas.]

A whole treatise would be required to describe all the Madonnas which
have been attributed to Donatello. Within the limits of this volume
the discussion must be confined to certain groups which are directly
related to him, ignoring a much larger number of subordinate interest.
The tendency is to ascribe to Donatello many more than he can possibly
have made--varying inversely from the attitude of modern criticism,
which has asserted that not twenty paintings by Giorgione have
survived. Hundreds of artists must have made these Madonnas, of which
only a small minority are in bronze or marble. Many names of sculptors
are recorded to whom we can only attribute one or two works; the
remainder being generically ascribed to the school of some great man,
and often enough to the great man himself. The bulk of these reliefs
of the Madonna and Child are in stucco, terra-cotta, carta pesta and
gesso--cheap malleable materials which were easily and rapidly worked:
the reliefs were manufactured in great numbers for the market. Then
again, well-known works were cast, and small differences in colour and
finish often gave them the semblance of original work. Vasari says
that almost every artist in Florence possessed a cast of Pollaiuolo's
battle-piece.[221] Such facsimiles are eagerly sought after nowadays,
and are treated as genuine works of the sculptor. It must also be
remembered that during the last decades there has been a systematic
multiplication of these reliefs, and that forgeries can be found in
most of the great collections of Europe. The first difficulty
encountered in trying to discept between Donatello and his school, is
that authenticated examples from which to make our inductions are very
rare. Donatello certainly made Madonnas in relief: Vasari mentions
half a dozen; Neroccio, the Sienese sculptor, possessed _una Madonna
di gesso di Donatello_.[222] There are Madonnas on the tombs of Pope
John and Cardinal Brancacci. The latter shows no trace of Donatello's
craft, and the former is of indifferent merit, and was certainly not
made by Donatello alone. There are two Madonnas at Padua, one the
large altar statue, the other a tiny relief three inches in diameter
on one of the bronze Miracle panels. The sources of stylistic data are
therefore most scanty. One may say generally that in the authenticated
Virgins as well as in the other heads of women, Donatello makes a
marked nasal indenture, thus separating him from those later men who
drew their heads with the classical profile, showing a straight and
continuous line from the forehead down the nose. But even this cannot
be pressed too far. As regards the Christ, Donatello seems to preserve
the essence and immaturity of childhood. His treatment of the Child is
never hieratic, and it is always full of warm human sentiment. The
Paduan relief, for instance, is almost a _genre_ representation of a
mother and child, domestic and intimate, with nothing but the halos to
indicate the higher meaning of the theme. Having said so much, we come
to the other Madonnas which are assigned on various grounds to
Donatello: those known as the Madonnas Pazzi, Orlandini, Siena
Cathedral, Pietra Piana; the London oval, the Madonna of the Rose,
the Capella Medici group, and the Piot and Courajod Madonnas in the
Louvre. All of these have one or more features which conflict with our
ideas of Donatello. It is impossible to say that any one of them must
inevitably be by Donatello himself; none of them carry their own
sign-manual of authenticity. The Pazzi Madonna in Berlin[223] is now
generally ascribed to Donatello himself, and certainly no more
grandiose version of the subject exists. The Virgin is holding up the
Child close to her beautiful face; she broods over him, and the
countenance is full of foreboding. The solemnity of the large Paduan
Madonna is visible here, and it is only made to apply to the Virgin,
for the Child is a typical _bambino_. So, too, in the relief outside
the transept door of Siena Cathedral we find this grim careworn
expression and the sense of impending drama: the massacre of the
Innocents is still to come. This relief, a marble _tondo_, is in such
abnormally perfect condition that one wonders if it may not be a later
_replica_ of some original which the atmosphere disintegrated.
Donatello must have provided the design; at any rate, it is difficult
to suggest an alternative name. The four winged cherubs are, however,
lifeless and ill-drawn, while the Christ is more like some of the
_putti_ on the Aragazzi reliefs than Donatello's typical boy. The
share of Michelozzo in the reliefs ascribed to Donatello is larger
than has been hitherto acknowledged. The Orlandini Madonna[224] yearns
like a tigress as she holds up her child and gazes into its face; here
again we have a composition for which Donatello must have been
primarily responsible, though the full profile is attributable to
inefficient handling of the marble rather than to deliberate
intention. Signor Bardini's version of this relief has a delicacy
lacking in the original; one touch of colour removes a certain
awkwardness of the profile. The Madonna in the Via Pietra Piana at
Florence belongs to a different category. Here again the design is
Donatellesque, but the face of the Madonna has a dull and vacant look;
not only is it without the powerful modelling of the Pazzi or Siena
reliefs, but it shows none of the sentiment for which those two
Madonnas are so remarkable. There are several reproductions in Berlin
and London,[225] all differing from the Florentine version in the
drapery of the head-dress. Closely related to this Madonna is another
composition which only exists in soft materials.[226] The Virgin, with
long wavy hair, looks downwards towards her Child, who is looking
outwards to the spectator. This is a work of merit, with something
attractive in the anxious and clinging attitude of the Madonna. The
large clay Madonna and Child in London,[227] the Christ sitting in a
chair and the Virgin with hands joined in worship, has been the
subject of much controversy. There are good grounds for doubting its
authenticity. The angular treatment of the head and a dainty roundness
of the wrist often indicate that Bastianini had a share in this class
of work.[228] This relief has all the merits and demerits of the
circular Piot Madonna in the Louvre.[229] Here, too, the handling of
Bastianini has been detected, though there is a clumsiness which is
seldom seen in the productions of that distinguished artist. The frame
and the background, which are integral features of the composition,
can leave no doubt as to the origin of this work. But the Piot relief
has an interest which the London terra-cotta cannot boast, for a
fifteenth-century original from which the copyist worked is in
existence, now belonging to Signor Bardini. This is a tondo Madonna of
uncoloured stucco, of no particular value in itself; but it is the
model from which the Piot sophistication was contrived; or else it is
a cast from the lost original of marble. It reveals all the whims of
the copyist: the treatment of the hands, the lissome tissue of the
drapery, and the angular structure of the skull. A less interesting
forgery is the marble Madonna in London.[230] Three reproductions of
the lost Donatellesque original exist, the Berlin copy[231] being in
stucco, that at Bergamo terra-cotta. Signor Bardini has an effaced and
poor copy of the same relief, in which the hand of the Madonna is
obviously meant to be holding something; but the stucco has been much
rubbed away and one cannot tell the original intention of the
sculptor. But the two other genuine versions are in better condition
and supply the answer, showing that the Virgin held a large rose
between her fingers. The man who made the London relief copied from
the incomplete version, and carved an empty meaningless hand with the
fingers grasping something which does not exist.

[Footnote 221: v. 100.]

[Footnote 222: Mentioned in his will. He died in 1500. Milanesi, iii.
p. 8.]

[Footnote 223: Marble, No. 39. Versions in soft materials exist in the
Louvre, in the André and Bardini Collections, and a variant in the
Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 7590, 1861.]

[Footnote 224: Marble, Berlin Museum.]

[Footnote 225: Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 7412, 1860; Berlin
Museum; collections of Herr von Beckerath and Herr Richard von
Kaufmann.]

[Footnote 226: Louvre, Berlin Museum; Verona, in the Viccolo Fogge;
_cf._ also the relief under the archway in the Via de' Termini,
Siena.]

[Footnote 227: Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 57, 1867.]

[Footnote 228: Giovanni Bastianini, 1830-68, though the _doyen_ of
forgers, did not profit by his dexterity, and died almost penniless.]

[Footnote 229: Terra-cotta.]

[Footnote 230: Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 8376, 1863.]

[Footnote 231: No. 53 E. Bergamo, Morelli Collection, No.
53.]

[Illustration: _Alinari_

MADONNA AND CHILD

LOUVRE (NO. 389), PARIS]

The little oval Madonna in London[232] is a work of much interest. It
is coloured stucco, and Dr. Bode, who has dated it as early as
1420-30, believes it to be the first example of the _Santa
conversazione_ in Italian plastic art. A variant belonging to Dr.
Weisbach in Berlin is of equal importance, and both are probably
original works and not casts. The Berlin relief is not so thickly
painted as the London medallion, and shows signs of the actual
modelling. There are contradictions in these valuable works. The
music-making angels are like a figure on the Salome relief at Siena:
but they are also related to Luca della Robbia's reliefs on the
Campanile, and to a terra-cotta Madonna in London[233] (which reminds
one of the Pellegrini Chapel); Matteo Civitale uses a similar type on
the tomb of St. Regulus at Lucca; while the crowned saint of the
London version was copied at a later date on a well-known plaquette
forming the lid of a box of which several examples exist.[234] The
figure of the Madonna and Child also suggests another hand; and with
the exception of the stone relief in the Louvre, and another derived
from it at Padua,[235] it is the only case in which the Virgin is not
shown in profile. These latter works are bold and vigorous, and must
be ultimately referred to Donatello, the head of the Madonna being
rendered by fluent and precise strokes of the chisel. A bronze relief
in the Louvre (No. 390), which came from Fontainebleau, has
Donatellesque motives; but the spiral coils of hair, and still more
the fact that the Virgin's breasts are hammered into the likeness
of _putti_'s faces--wholly alien to Donatello's serious
ideas--sufficiently prove it to belong to the later Italian school
which flourished at the French Court. The Courajod Madonna (Louvre,
389) is modestly called a schoolpiece; but it is a work of first-class
importance, for which Donatello is to be credited. This is a very
large relief in painted terra, the Madonna being in profile to the
left, with a wan and saddened expression. The arm is stiff and wooden,
while the undercutting of the profile, like that of the Siena tondo,
is so pronounced that, when standing close to the wall on which the
relief is fixed, one can see the Virgin's second eye--unduly prominent
and much too near to the nose. This is a needless and distracting
mannerism, though, of course, the blemish is only noticeable from one
point of view, being quite invisible as one sees the relief from the
front, or in a photograph. The Berlin Museum has another large Madonna
comparable for its scale and rich colouring to the Courajod relief.
This came from the convent of Santa Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi at
Florence.[236] The Child, draped in swaddling-clothes, stands up
leaning against the Virgin, who looks downwards. Above them are four
cherubs, full of character and vivacity, the whole composition being
typical of Donatello, though naturally enough much of the primitive
colouring has disappeared during the last four centuries. One other
group remains to be noticed, founded upon the large marble relief in
the Capella Medici of Santa Croce.[237] We detect Donatello's ideas,
but no sign of his handiwork: neither was he responsible for the
composition, of which the governing feature is a total absence of his
masterly occupation of space. There are also florescent details in the
halos, drapery, and so forth, which are closer to Agostino di Duccio
than to Donatello. Though not all by the same sculptor, these reliefs
are most interesting and suggestive, showing the growth and activity
of a small school which drew some inspiration from Donatello while
preserving its own individuality. We find an intricate treatment of a
very simple idea. As compositions, Donatello's Madonnas were always
simple. But our knowledge of the subject is still empirical, and until
the problem has been further sifted by the most severe tests of
research and criticism, our opinions as to Donatello's personal share
in the array of Madonnas must remain subject to revision.

[Footnote 232: Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 93, 1882.]

[Footnote 233: _Ibid._ No. 7594, 1861.]

[Footnote 234: One was in the Spitzer Collection, another belongs to
M. Gustave Dreyfus.]

[Footnote 235: No. 294, Davillier bequest; and in the entrance hall to
the Sacristy of the Eremitani at Padua.]

[Footnote 236: Terra-cotta No. 39a.]

[Footnote 237: The others are Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 7624,
1861, marble. Berlin Museum, stucco. Madame André, marble, finer than
the London version. Marquise Arconati-Visconti, Paris, marble, and a
rough uncoloured stucco in the Casa Bardini.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _W.A. Mansell_

MADONNA (BERLIN)

FROM SANTA MARIA MADDALENA DEI PAZZI, FLORENCE]


[Illustration: _Alinari_

SIDE PANEL OF PULPIT

SAN LORENZO, FLORENCE]


[Sidenote: The Pulpits of San Lorenzo.]

Donatello was sixty-seven when he returned from Padua. He seems to
have been unsettled during his later years, undertaking ambitious
schemes which he did not execute, and hesitating whether Florence or
Siena should be the home of his old age. The bronze pulpits of San
Lorenzo[238] are the most important works of this period, and they
were left unfinished at his death. Donatello was an old man, and the
work bears witness to his advancing years. Bandinelli says that the
roughness of the modelling was caused by failing eyesight,[239] and it
is obvious that, notwithstanding the signs of feverish activity,
and an apparent desire to get the work finished, much was left
uncompleted at his death. The pulpits were not even erected until a
later date; some of the panels were subsequently added in wood, and
others do not correctly fit into the structural design. But the genius
of Donatello shines through the finishing-touches of his assistants.
Drama is replaced by tragedy; and in these panels the concluding
incidents of the Passion are pictured with intense earnestness and
pathos. But Donatello would not allow gloom to monopolise his
composition. The paradox of the pulpits consists in the frieze of
_putti_ above the reliefs: _putti_ who dance, play, romp, and run
about. Some of them are busily engaged in moving a heavy statue:
others are pressing grapes into big cauldrons. The boy dragging along
a violoncello as big as himself is delightful. The contrast afforded
by this happy and buoyant throng to the unrelieved tragedy below is
strikingly unconventional; and the spirit of both portions is so well
maintained that there is neither conflict of emotion nor sense of
incongruity. The scenes (including those added at a later date) are
sixteen in number. Except the later reliefs of St. John, St. Luke, the
Flagellation, and the Ecce Homo, all are of bronze, upon which more
care seems to have been expended than on the clay models from which
they were cast. On the southern pulpit the scene on the Mount of
Olives shows the foreshortened Apostles sleeping soundly as in
Mantegna's pictures. Christ before Pilate and Christ before Caiaphas
are treated as different episodes, in two similar compartments of one
great hall, separated by a large pier. The Crucifix and the Deposition
are, perhaps, the most remarkable of all these reliefs: corresponding
in many ways to works already described; but not having been
over-decorated like the Bargello relief, show greater dignity and less
confusion. The background of the Deposition is flat, but broken here
and there by faintly-indicated horsemen; naked boys riding on shadowy
steeds like those vague figures which seem to thread their way through
some panel of Gothic tapestry. There is an element of _stiacciato_ in
the Entombment, giving it the air of a mystery rather than of an
historical fact. The draperies are thin and graceful, suited to the
softer modelling of the limbs: some of the faces are almost dainty.
Passing to the northern pulpit, we come to three scenes divided by
heavy buttresses, but unified by figures leaning against them, and
overstepping the lateral boundaries of the reliefs. The subjects are
the Descent into Limbo, the Resurrection and the Ascension. The link
between the two former is a haggard emaciated Baptist. The Christ is
old and tired. The people who welcome him in Limbo are old and tired,
feebly pressing towards the Saviour. The Roman guards lie sleeping,
self abandoned in their fatigue, while Christ, wearied and suffering,
steps from the tomb with manifest effort. One feels that the physical
infirmities of the artist are reflected in these two works, so vivid
in their presentment of the heavy burden of advanced years. But in the
Resurrection a fresh note is struck. The bystanders are gathered round
the Christ, who gives the Benediction. His robe is held back by little
angels, and the scene is pervaded by an atmosphere of staid and
decorous calm. Donatello has treated this relief in a more archaic
spirit. The absence of paroxysms of acute grief, giving a certain
violence to other parts of the pulpits, makes the contrast of this
relief more effective; but, even so, this scene of the Ascension is
fraught with dramatic emphasis. The Descent of the Holy Ghost is
less interesting. There is a monotony in the upraised hands, while the
feeling of devotional rhapsody is perhaps unduly enforced. The relief
of the Maries at the Tomb, which occupies the western end of this
pulpit, is almost Pisanesque in the relative size of the people to the
architecture. There is a combination of trees and pilasters seeming to
support the long low roof beneath which the incident is portrayed. A
curious feeling of intimacy is conveyed to the spectator. The pulpits
are full of classical details--far more so than in anything we find at
Padua. It is very noticeable in the armour of the soldiers, in their
shields bearing the letters S.P.Q.R. and the scorpion, and in the
antique vases which decorate the frieze. The centaurs holding the
cartel on which Donatello has signed his name are, of course,
classical in idea, while the boys with horses are suggested by the
great Monte Cavallo statues.[240] Then, again, the architecture is
replete with classical forms; in one relief Donatello introduces the
Column of Trajan. But here, as elsewhere, the classicisms are held in
check, and never invade or embarrass the dominant spirit of the
Quattrocento. How far Donatello was helped by assistants must remain
problematical in the absence of documentary evidence. Bellano and
Bertoldo were in all probability responsible for a good deal. In the
relief of St. Laurence it is possible that Donatello's share was
relatively small. Moreover, one part of the frieze of children is so
closely allied to the work of Giovanni da Pisa at Padua, that one is
justified, on stylistic grounds, in suggesting that he may also have
been employed. But it is certain that the share of Bellano must have
been limited to the more technical portion of the work, for there is
happily nothing to suggest the poverty of his inventive powers. These
pulpits are very remarkable works; they have an inexhaustible wealth
of detail in which Donatello can be studied with endless pleasure. The
backgrounds are full of his architectural fancy, and the sustained
effort put forth by Donatello is really astonishing. But he was an
octogenarian, and there are signs of decay. Michael Angelo and
Beethoven decayed. Dante and Shakespeare were too wise to decay;
Shelley and Giorgione died too young. But the sculptor's intellect
must be reinforced by keen eyes and a steady hand: of all artists,
Nature finds him most vulnerable. Donatello's last work shows the
fatigue of hand and eye, though the intellect never lost its ardent
and strenuous activity. There was no petulance or meanness in his old
age, no decadence; he merely grew old, and his personality was great
until the end.

[Footnote 238: Properly speaking, they are ambones. They stand in the
west end of the nave of the church close to the junction of the
transepts.]

[Footnote 239: 7, xii. 1547. "_... Donato non fece mai la più brutta
opera_," &c. Letter printed in Bottari, i. 70.]

[Footnote 240: It is probable that these famous horses were mere
wrecks in the fifteenth century. At any rate, Lafreri's engraving of
1546 shows one of them without breast or forelegs, the remainder of
the horse being nothing but a large pillar of brick. Herr von Kaufmann
has an admirable statuette of Donatello's latter period modelled from
the horses on the San Lorenzo frieze. _Cf._ also Mantegna in the
Madonna di San Zeno, Verona.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Alinari_

END PANEL OF PULPIT

SAN LORENZO, FLORENCE]


[Sidenote: Donatello's Influence on Sculpture.]

The influence of Donatello on his three greatest contemporaries was
small. Jacopo della Quercia always retained his own massive style.
Luca della Robbia and Ghiberti--the Euphuist of Italian
sculpture--were scarcely affected by the sterner principles of
Donatello. All four men were, in fact, exponents of distinct and
independent ideas, and handed on their traditions to separate groups
of successors. Nanni di Banco and Il Rosso were, however, impressed
by Donatello's monumental work, while other sculptors, such as Simone
Fiorentino, Vecchietta, Michelozzo, Andrea del Aquila and Buggiano
(besides much anonymous talent) were largely influenced by him. It is
owing to the fact that Donatello was the most influential man of his
day that so many "schoolpieces" exist.[241] The influence on his
successors is less easily determined, except so far as concerns the
men who worked for him at Padua, together with Riccio, the most
skilful bronze caster of his day, who indirectly owed a good deal to
Donatello. But Urbano da Cortona and his colleagues produced little
original work after their return from Padua: their training seems to
have merged their individuality into the dominant style of Donatello;
and much of their subsequent work is now ascribed to Donatello or his
_bottega_. Verrocchio, whom Gauricus calls Donatello's rival, owes
little or nothing to the elder man, and the versatile sculptors who
outlived Donatello, such as Rossellino, Benedetto da Maiano, Mino da
Fiesole and Desiderio, show relatively small traces of his influence.
But Donatello's sculpture acted as a restraining influence, a tonic:
it was a living protest against flippancy and carelessness, and his
influence was of service even where it was of a purely negative
character. Through Bertoldo Donatello's influence extended to Michael
Angelo, affecting his ideas of form: But Jacopo della Quercia, who was
almost as great a man as Donatello, is the prototype of Michael
Angelo's spirit. Jacopo ought to have founded a powerful, indeed an
overwhelming school of sculpture at Siena. Cozzarelli, Neroccio, and
the Turini just fail to attain distinction; but their force and
virility should have fructified Jacopo's ideas and developed a supreme
school of monumental sculpture. As regards Michael Angelo, there can
be no question of his having been influenced by Donatello's St. John
the Evangelist and the Campanile Abraham. The _Madonna delle
treppe_[242] in a lesser degree is suggested by Donatello. The Trinity
on the niche of St. Louis again reminds one of Michael Angelo's
conception of the Eternal Father. His Bacchus in Berlin[243] was held
to be the work of Donatello himself, and the Pietà in St. Peter's has
also a reminiscence of the older master. But in all these cases the
resemblance is physical. The intellectual genius of Michael Angelo
owed nothing to Donatello. Condivi records one of Michael Angelo's
rare _obiter dicta_ about his predecessors[244] to the effect that
Donatello's work, much as he admired it, was inadequately polished
owing to lack of patience. The criticism was not very sagacious, and
one would least expect it from Michael Angelo, of whose work so much
was left unfinished. But, at any rate, Donatello commanded his
approval, and contributed something to one of the greatest artists of
the world. But the ideals of Michael Angelo were too comprehensive to
be derived from one source or another, too stupendous to spring from
individuals. He sought out the universal form: he took mankind for his
model; and while he typified humanity he effectively denationalised
Italian sculpture.

[Footnote 241: _E.g._, work wrongly attributed to Donatello: the
figure of Plenty in the courtyard of the Canigiani Palace, Florence;
the Lavabo in San Lorenzo; the two figures on the famous silver altar
at Pistoja; the bronze busts in the Bargello; the font at Pietra
Santa; chimney-pieces, gateways, _stemme_, and numberless Madonnas and
small bronzes.]

[Footnote 242: Casa Buonarroti, Florence.]

[Footnote 243: From the Gualandi Collection. It is attributed by some
to a Neapolitan sculptor.]

[Footnote 244: "Vita," 1553, p. 14.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Early Criticism of Donatello.]

Donatello's activity is the best testimonial to the appreciation of
his work during his lifetime. Sabba del Castiglione was proud to
possess a specimen of Donatello's sculpture.[245] Commissions were
showered on him in great numbers, and Gauricus says that he produced
more than all his contemporaries.[246] Flavius Blondius of Forli
compares him favourably with the ancients.[247] Bartolomeo Fazio
warmly praised Donatello, his junior.[248] Francesco d'Olanda[249] and
Benvenuto Cellini[250] also admired him. Lasca credited Donatello with
having done for sculpture what Brunellesco did for architecture:

    "_E Donatello messe la scultura
       Nel dritto suo sentier ch' era smarrita
     Cosi l'architettura
       Storpiata, e guasta alle man' de' Tedeschi...._"

and so forth.[251] Another early poem, the _Rappresentazione_ of King
Nebuchadnezzar, shows the great popularity of Donatello in the humbler
walks of life.[252] Vasari's rhetoric led him to say that Donatello
was sent by Nature, indignant at seeing herself caricatured.[253]
Bocchi claims that, having equalled the ancients and surpassed the
sculptors of his own day, Donatello's name will live in the perpetual
memory of mankind.[254]

[Footnote 245: "Ricordi," 1554, p. 51.]

[Footnote 246: "De Sculptura," 1504, gathering f. "Donatellus ...
_aere ligno, marmore laudatissimus, plura hujus unius manu extant
opera, quam semel ab eo ad nos cæterorum omnium_."]

[Footnote 247: "Italia Illustrata," Bâle, 1531, p. 305. "_Decorat
etiam urbem Florentiam ingenio veterum laudibus respondente, Donatello
Heracleotae Zeusi aequiparandus, ut vivos, juxta Virgilii verba, ducat
de marmore vultus._"]

[Footnote 248: "De Viris illustribus," Florence ed. 1745, p. 51.
"_Donatellus ... excellet non aere tantum, sed etiam marmore
notissimus, ut vivos vultus ducere, et ad antiquorum gloriam proxime
accedere videatur._"]

[Footnote 249: "Dialogues," Raczynski ed. Paris, 1846, p. 56.]

[Footnote 250: "Due Trattati," ed. Milanesi, 1857, passim.]

[Footnote 251: "Due Vite di Brunellesco," p. 142.]

[Footnote 252: Semper, 321.]

[Footnote 253: "Lem.," iii. 243, in first edition.]

[Footnote 254: 1677 edition.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Character and Personality of Donatello.]

Donatello must be judged by his work alone. His intellect is only
reflected in his handicraft. We know little about him, but all we know
bears tribute to his high character. The very name by which he was
called--Donatello--is a diminutive, a term of endearment. His
generosity, his modesty, and a pardonable pride, are recorded in
stories which have been generically applied to others, but which were
specific to himself. He shared his purse with his friends:[255] he
preferred plain clothing to the fine raiment offered by Cosimo de'
Medici;[256] and he indignantly broke the statue for which a Genoese
merchant was unwilling to pay a fair price.[257] He was recognised as
a man of honourable judgment, and he was called upon to act as
assessor several times. The friend of the Medici, of Cyriac of Ancona,
of Niccolo Niccoli, the greatest antiquarian of the day, and of Andrea
della Robbia, one of the pall-bearers at his funeral, must have been a
man of winning personality and considerable learning. But he was
always simple and naïve: _benigno e cortese_, according to
Vasari,[258] but as Summonte added with deeper insight, his work was
far from simple.[259] He is one of the rare men of genius against whom
no contemporary attack is recorded. He was content with little;[260]
his life was even-tenored; his work, though not faultless, shows a
steady and unbroken progress towards the noblest achievements of
plastic art.

[Footnote 255: Gauricus, b. 1.]

[Footnote 256: Vespasiano de' Bisticci, Vite.]

[Footnote 257: "Vasari," iii. 253.]

[Footnote 258: _Ibid._ iii. 244.]

[Footnote 259: "_Fo in Fiorenza ad tempo de' nostri padri Donatello
huomo raro, semplicissimo in ogni altra cosa excepto che in la
scultura_."]

[Footnote 260: Matteo degli Orghani, writing in 1434, says: "_Impero
che è huomo ch' ogni picholo pasto è allui assai, e sta contento a
ogni cosa_." Guasti, iv. 475. Donatello died in 1466, probably on
December 15. He was buried in San Lorenzo at the expense of the
Medici. Masaccio painted his portrait in the Carmine, but it is lost.
The Louvre panel No. 1272, ascribed to Paolo Ucello, shows the
painter, Manetti, Brunellesco, and Donatello. Monuments have been
recently erected to the sculptor in his native city. For Donatello's
homes in Florence, see "Misc. Fiorentina," vol. i. No. 4, 1886, p. 60,
and "Miscellanea d'arte," No. 3, 1903, p. 49.]



APPENDICES



APPENDIX I

WORK LOST OR NOT EXECUTED


_Padua._--For the Santo altar, a figure of God the Father, stone; a
Deposition and the remaining bas-reliefs mentioned in the "Anonimo
Morelliano;" a St. Sebastian, wood; a Madonna in the church of the
Servi.

_Ferrara._--Donatello probably worked there; in 1451 he visited the
town as an assessor. Gualandi, iv. 35.

_Modena._--Donatello also visited this town in 1451, and received a
first instalment towards the equestrian statue of Borso d'Este.
Campori, "Gli artisti Italiani." Modena, 1855, p. 185.

For _Mantua_ he made a large number of works, including columns,
capitals, images of the Madonna in stone and terra-cotta, a St. Andrew
in tufo, &c.; also the design for a shrine of St. Anselm. See
documents in Archivio Storico Lombardo, 1886, p. 666. At _Rome_ a St.
John Baptist, "Una testa" in the Minerva Church, and the portrait of
Canon Morosini in Santa Maria Maggiore.

At _Siena_ a Goliath, a silver crucifix, gates for the Cathedral, and
a marble statue of San Bernardino.

At _Ancona_ and _Orvieto_ statues of St. John the Baptist.

At _Florence_ the following works are lost: the Dovizia, a figure of
Plenty, which stood in the Mercato Vecchio; two bronze heads for the
Cantoria; the Colossi for the Cathedral; four large stucco Saints in
San Lorenzo; a statue with drapery of gilded lead made with
Brunellesco. San Rossore for Ogni Santi; a reliquary of Santa Verdiana
(Richa, ii. 231); Albizzi tombs. The Cathedral gates were never made.
Bocchi, Cinelli, Vasari, and Borghini mention a large number of
smaller works now unidentified; plaquettes, Madonnas, crucifixes,
heraldic shields, busts and reliefs.



APPENDIX II

DOCUMENTS


These are printed as specimens of the original authorities upon which
our authentic knowledge of Donatello is based.


A.

Denunzia de' Beni of 1427, stating Donatello's home, his substance,
his partnership with Michelozzo; referring also to the bronze relief
for the Siena Font and the figure of San Rossore. Also a list of the
sculptor's family. (Gaye, i. 120.)

Donato di nicholo di betto, intagliatore, prestanziato nel quartiere
di Sco. Spirito, gonfalone nichio, in fior. 1. s. 10 den. 2. Sanza
niuna sustanza, eccietto un pocho di maserizie per mio uso edella mia
famiglia.

E più esercito la detta arte insieme e a conpagnia con Michelozzo di
bartolomeo, sanza niuna chorpo, salvo flor. 30 in più ferramenti et
masserizie per detta arte.

E di detta conpagnia e bottegha tralgho quella sustanza et in quello
modo, che per la scritta della sustanza di Michelozzo sopradetto
appare nel quartiere di Sco. Giovanni G. dragho, che dice in lionardo
di bartolomeo di gherardo e frategli. Eppiù ò avere dall' operaio di
duomo di Siena fior. 180 per chagione duna storia dottone, gli feci
più tempo fa.

Eppiù dal convento e frati dogni santi ò avere per chagione duna meza
fighura di bronzo di Sco. rossore della quale non sà fatto merchato
niuno. Chredo restare avere più che fior 30.

truovomi con questa famiglia in chasa:

Donato danni 40.
M^a Orsa mia madre 80.
M^a Tita mia sirochia, vedova, sanza dote 45.
Giuliano figliuolo di detta M^a tita atratto 18.

Sto a pigione in una chasa di ghuglielmo adimari, posta ne chorso
degli adimari e nel popolo Sco. Cristofano,--paghone fior. 15 l'anno.


B.

The contract for the payment of 1900 florins to Donatello in respect
of the Bronze Gates for the Sacristy doors of the Cathedral, a work
which was subsequently entrusted to Luca della Robbia. (Semper, p.
284.)

21. ii. 1487. Item commiserunt Nicolao Johannotii de Biliottis et
Salito Jacobi de Risalitis duobus ex eorum officio locandi Donato
N.B.B. civi Florentino magistro intagli faciendo duas portas de bronzo
duabus novis sacristiis cathedralis ecclesie florentine pro pretio in
totum flor. 1900 pro eo tempore et cum illis pactis et storiis et
modis pro ut eis videbitur fore utilius et honorabilius pro dicta
opera et quidquid fecerint circa predictum intelligatur et sit ac si
factum foret per totum eorum officium.


C.

Payment for casting the bronze statue of St. Louis for the Paduan
altar; also for two of the Miracle reliefs and two symbols of the
Evangelists. (Gloria.)

19. vi. 1447. E a dì dicto avà M^o Andrea dal Mayo per far getare duy
de i miracholli de S. Antonio e dui guagnelista e un S. Luixe. i quali
va in lanchona de laltaro grande--lire 45 soldi 12.


D.

Payment to Donatello and some of his assistants (Gloria.)

11. ii. 1447. E a dì ii dicto avè Donatello da Fiorenza per so nome de
luy e de urbano e de Zuan da Pixa e de Antonio Celino e de Francesco
del Vallente su garzon e de Nicolo depentor so desipollo over garzon
per parte over sora la anchona over palla el dicto e i dicti de
(_i.e._, devono) fare al altaro grande del curo (_i.e._, coro) del
santo,--lire cento e soldi dexe.



APPENDIX III

BOOKS OF REFERENCE


Albertini, "Memoriale di molte statues," 1863 (1st ed., Florence,
1510).

Anonimo Morelliano, "Notizie d'opere di disegno," written about 1530,
1884 (1st ed. 1800).

Bocchi, F., "Eccellenza della statua di San Giorgio," Florence, 1584;
edited by Cinelli, "Bellezze della città di Firenze," 1677 (1st ed.
1592).

Bode, W., "Donatello à Padoue," Paris, 1883; "Florentiner Bildhauer
der Renaissance," Berlin, 1902.

Boïto, Camillo, "L'Altare di Donatello," Milan, 1897.

Borghini, "Riposo," Florence, 1730 (1st ed. 1586).

Bottari, G., "Lettere pittoriche," 8 vols. 1822 (1st ed.).

Cellini, B., "Due Trattati," edited by Carlo Milanesi, 1857.

Cicognara, "Storia della scultura," Venice, 1823, 7 vols.

Gauricus, P., "De Sculptura," Florence, 1504.

Gaye, "Carteggio inedito d'artisti," Florence, 1839, 3 vols.

Ghiberti, L., "Commentaries" in Vasari, vol. i.

Gloria, Michael Angelo, "Donatello fiorentino e le sue opere, ... in
Padova," Padua, 1895.

Gnoli, Article on "Donatello in Rome"; "Arch. storico dell' arte,"
1888.

Gonzati, "La Chiesa di S. Antonio di Padova," 1852, 2 vols.

Gualandi, "Memorie," Bologna, 1840.

Lindsay, Lord, "Christian Art," 1885, 2 vols.

"L'Osservatore Fiorentino," 1821, 3 vols. (1st ed. 1797).

Lusini, V., "Il San Giovanni di Siena," Florence, 1901.

Milanesi, C., "Documenti dell' arte Senese," Siena, 1854, 3 vols.

Milanesi, G., "Catalogo delle opere di Donatello," Florence, 1888.

Molinier, E., "Les Plaquettes," Paris, 1886, 2 vols.

Müntz E., "Les Précurseurs de la Renaissance," Paris, 1882;
"Donatello," Paris, 1885.

Perkins, C., "Tuscan Sculptors," 1864, 2 vols.

Reymond, M., "La Sculpture Florentine," Florence, 1898.

Richa, "Notizie istoriche," Florence, 1754, 10 vols.

Schmarsow, A., "Donatello," Breslau, 1886.

Semper, H., "Donatellos Leben und Werke," Innsbruck, 1887; "Donatello,
seine zeit und Schule," Vienna, 1875.

Semrau, M., "Donatello's Kanzeln in San Lorenzo," Breslau, 1891.

Tanfani-Centofanti, "Notizie di Artisti ... Pisani," Pisa, 1898.

Titi, "Ammaestramento Utile," Rome, 1686.

Vasari, "Vite dei Pittori," Florence, Lemonnier, ed. 1846, 14 vols.
(1st ed. 1550).

Von Tschudi, "Donatello e la critica moderna," Turin, 1887.



INDEX


Abraham: statue, 10, 30

Alberti, L.B.: on Art, 22

Ambras: entombment, 177

Ammanati: sculptor, 102

Amorino: bronze, Bargello, 113, 114

Ancona: Baptist for, 59

André (Madame) Collection:
  Prophet, 7;
  St. John, 57;
  profile warrior, 98;
  bronze children, 114;
  marble boy, 115;
  Gonzaga bust, 127;
  St. Sebastian, 177

Andrew, St.: statue (lost), 199

Annunciation: Sta. Croce, 49, 113, 154

Anselm, St.: projected shrine, 199

Antonio, St.: at Padua, bronze, 153

Aquila, Andrea del: sculptor, 191

Aragazzi: _see_ Tombs

Architect: Donatello as, 59, 65

Arduino: engineer, 143

Aretino: letter from, 76

_Assistants_, Donatello's:
  Moscatello, 64, 168;
  Giovanni da Pisa, 75, 168, 190, 203;
  Nani, G., 167;
  Cocaro, N., 168;
  Meo of Florence, 168;
  Pipo of Florence, 168;
  Antonio of Lugano, 168;
  Bartolommeo of Ferrara, 168;
  Jacomo, goldsmith, 168;
  Squarcione, 150;
  Giovanni da Becato, 168;
  Francesco del Mayo, 168;
  Andrea delle Caldiere, 168;
  Urbano da Cortona, 168, 169;
  Francesco Valente, 168, 203;
  Antonio of Pisa, 168;
  Bellano, 170, 190;
  Bertoldo, 189, 191

Assumption: Brancacci tomb, 80

Assyrian low relief, 81

Athos, Mount: conventionalised art, 22

Aurelius, M.: equestrian statue, 173


Banco, Nanni di: sculptor, 30, 190

Bandinelli, 46, 102, 186

Baptist, St. John: _see_ St. John

Baptistery gates, 2;
  competition, 3;
  Magdalen, 144;
  Coscia tomb, 72

Bardini Collection:
  Madonna, 54, 185;
  fountain, 66;
  tomb slab, 85;
  Crucifixion, 178

Bas-relief: its limitations, 137

Bastianini, 182

Battoni, P.: painter, 145

Becchi: shield, 68

Beckerath: Madonna, 182

Bellano, 170, 189, 190

Benda Collection: bust, 118

Benedetto da Maiano, 191

Bentivoglio: medal of, 82

Bergamo: Madonna, 183

Berlin Museum:
  bust, terra cotta, 120;
  Gonzaga, bronze, 127;
  bronze head of old man, 128;
  St. John, bronze, 147;
  putto, bronze, from Siena, 114;
  Flagellation, marble, 178;
  David, bronze, 52;
  Madonnas, 180

Bernardino, St.: projected statue, 146, 199

Bertoldo, 189, 191

Blondius, F., 193

Bocchi: passim

Bologna: sculpture at, 9, 85, 143

Boni: shield, 68

Boniface VIII.: statues of, 9

Borso d'Este: projected statue, 199

Botticelli, 99

Bramantino: drawings, 90

Brancacci: _see_ Tombs

Bronzino, 52, 102

Brosses, des: criticisms, 138, 144

Brunellesco:
  model for gates, 3;
  co-operation with Donatello, 37, 200

Buggiano, 191

Busts:
  Benda Collection, 118;
  Dreyfus Collection, 118;
  Duke of Westminster's Collection, 118;
  Hainauer Collection, 119;
  Faenza St. John, 119;
  Martelli St. John, 118;
  San Lorenzo, Florence, 126;
  St. Cecilia, London, 126;
  Gonzaga bronze, 127;
  old man's head, bronze, 128;
  Gattamelata, 99, 129;
  Vanchettoni, 118;
  Vecchio Barbuto, Florence, 130;
  Roman Emperor, Florence, 130;
  old woman, bronze, 130;
  San Rossore, 130, 201;
  Niccolò da Uzzano, 121


Caldiere, Andrea, Donatello's bronze caster, 168

Camondo, Comte de: Crucifixion, 178

Canigiani: Palazzo, sculpture, 191

Canon of Art, 20

Cantoria:
  San Lorenzo, 64;
  Cathedral, 103, 107, 199;
  Luca della Robbia's, 106-8

Capodalista: horse, 175

Castiglione: Sabba del, 119, 193

Cecilia, St. (London), 126;
  ditto, Lord Wemyss, 172

Cellini, B., 141, 193

Charge to Peter (London), 95

Chartres Cathedral: statuary, 41

Cherichini, supposed portrait of, 20

Childhood, Donatello's representation of, 103

Chimæra: Etruscan, 69

Choristers of bronze, Padua, 163

Cinelli: passim

Ciuffagni: sculptor, 60, 66

Civitali, M., sculptor, 13

Classical influences, 4, 90, 103, 104;
  architecture, 160

Cocaro, Donatello's assistant, 168

Colle, Simone da: sculptor, 3

Colleone: equestrian statue, 150

Colossi, 34

Coronation window, 60

Coscia: _see_ Tombs

Cozzarelli: sculptor, 192

Criticism on Donatello, early, 193;
  later, 93

Croce, Santa, sculpture in, 49, 113, 38

Crowds: Donatello's treatment of, 156

Crucifix: Santa Croce, 47, 156

Crucifixion:
  Bargello bronze, 178;
  Camondo, bronze, 178;
  Berlin, 178

Cyriac of Ancona, 194


Daniel: statue, 10
  St., at Padua, bronze, 154

Dante, 45, 90

Davanzati: shield, 68

David:
  marble statue, 16;
  Martelli's statue, 52;
  bronze, 99;
  Berlin, 52

Dello: his epitaph, 13

Denunzia, 1, 76, 201

Desiderio, 133, 191

Doni, A.: criticism of Ghiberti, 138

Dovizia: statue, 142, 199

Drapery: Donatello's treatment of, 31

Drawings by Donatello, 60

Dreyfus Collection:
  marble bust, 118;
  Christ and St. John, relief, 133;
  St. Jerome, bronze, 170;
  Madonna bronze, 177;
  Verrocchio, putto, 105


Eagle: the Walpole, 162

Entombment:
  Vienna, 177
  Padua: marble, 161

Eremitani altar, 169

Evangelist symbols at Padua, 161
  Siena, 169

Eve: bas-relief, 142


Faenza:
  bust of St. John, 119;
  St. Jerome, 148

Faith: statuette at Siena, 71

Fazio, B., 193

Filarete, 91

Flagellation:
  London, 62;
  Paris, 177;
  Berlin, 177

Flaxman's criticism, 93

Florence:
  Cathedral façade, 6, 8, 9;
  cupola, 65;
  cantoria, 107;
  sacristy carving, 115;
  window, 60;
  colossi, 34;
  gates, 200, 202

Font:
  Siena, 70, 105, 201;
  at Pietra Santa, 191

Fontainebleau: Madonna, 184

Fountains, 66, 70

Francis, St.: at Padua, 153

Fulgosio: monument, Padua, 168


Gagini: sculptors, 131

Gattamelata:
  bust, 99, 129;
  tombs, 171;
  equestrian statue, 173

Gauricus, 60, 73, 193

Gems: employment of, 97-99, 129

George, St.:
  statue, 39;
  relief, 42, 72

Ghiberti:
  bronze gates, 3, 137;
  relation with Donatello, 190;
  classical ideas, 89, 91

Ghiberti, Vettorio: drawings, 63, 74

Ghini: Simone, 88

Giacomone da Faenza: drawings, 155

Gianfigliazzi: shield, 68

Gilbert, Alfred, R.A., 82

Giovanni da Pisa, 75, 168, 190, 203

Giuliano: Donatello's nephew, 2, 202

Goliath: statue (lost), 199

Gonzaga, Louis of: bust, 127

Gori: criticisms, 93

Gothic Art:
  Donatello's relations with, 5, 42;
  survivals of, 91

Gozzoli, Benozzo, 9

Grouping: Donatello's ideas of, 30, 138, 142, 161

Guidarelli: monument, 171


Habakkuk: statue, 23

Hands: Donatello's treatment of, 31

Henry VII.: tomb of, 136

Heraldic sculpture, 67

Hertford House: reliefs, 110

Hope: statuettes, 71, 75

Horse of Colleone, 174;
  Gattamelata, 173;
  Capodalista, 174

Horse's head: Naples, 175

Horses of St. Mark's, Venice, 173;
  of Monte Cavallo, 189


Icarus in Greek Art, 165

Ilaria del Caretto: tomb, 82

Intarsia, 161

Isotta da Rimini, 163


Jeremiah: statue, 20

Jerome, St.: Faenza, 148

John XXIII.: _see_ Tombs, Coscia

St. John Bapt.:
  Campanile statue, 18;
  Martelli statue, 56;
  Bargello statue, 57, 58;
  Dilke Collection, 57;
  Orvieto, 59, 147;
  Ancona, 59;
  Rome, 56, 57;
  Faenza, 119;
  Louvre, 120;
  Berlin, bronze, 146;
  Berlin, terra-cotta, 120;
  Siena, 146;
  Venice, 146;
  Hainauer Collection, 149

St. John Ev.:
  statue, 14;
  reliefs, 134

Judith, 140

Justina, St.: at Padua, 154


Kaufmann:
  Madonna, 182;
  statuette, 189


Lafreri: engraver, 189

Lasca, 193

Lavabo, San Lorenzo, 67

Laurana, F.: sculptor, 131

Leopardi, 175

Ligorio: architect, 90

Lille relief, 5, 72, 113

Lions in Florence, 67-9

London collection:
  Flagellation, 62;
  charge to Peter, 95;
  St. Cecilia, 126;
  marble relief of woman, 132;
  Magdalen, 149;
  lamentation over dead Christ, 165;
  shrine of St. Justina, 171;
  Martelli patera, 176;
  Deposition, bronze, 178;
  oval Madonna, 184;
  bronze boy, 115

Lorenzo, San:
  pulpits, 107, 186;
  sacristy, 133, 139;
  bronze doors, 135;
  lavabo, 191;
  statues perished, 199

Lorenzetti; early paintings, 145

Louis, St.:
  bronze Santa Croce, 38;
  bronze at Padua, 155, 202

Louvre collection:
  Pot tomb, 79;
  bronze by Valadier, 97;
  marble Baptist, 120;
  drawings, 61;
  Madonnas, 181-185;
  painting of St. John, 120;
  portrait of Donatello, 195;
  Flagellation, 177

Lucca, Siege of, 65

Luke, St.: statue, 124

Lytton, Earl of, medallion portrait, 82


Madonnas:
  Bardini, 54, 178, 181;
  Beckerath, 182;
  Berlin, Pazzi, marble, 181;
  Orlandini, marble, 181;
  S.M.M. dei Pazzi, 185;
  Brancacci, 80;
  Capella Medici, group, 185;
  Courajod, 185;
  Dreyfus Desiderio, 81, 177;
  delle Treppe, 192;
  Eremitani, Paris, 184;
  Fontainebleau, 184;
  Kaufmann, 182;
  London-Weisbach, oval, 184;
  Milan, Pierino da Vinci, 81;
  Madonna of the Rose, London, 183;
  Padua, large bronze, 152;
  small relief, 180;
  Pietra Piana, 182;
  Piot, Louvre, 55, 183;
  Quincy Shaw, 81;
  Siena Cathedral, 181;
  Verona, 182;
  Wemyss, Earl of, 81

Magdalen:
  Florence baptistery, 144;
  London, 149;
  Berlin, 149

Malatesta Annalena: bust, 130

Mandorla door:
  prophets, 7
  profile heads, 34

Manetti:
  biographer, 63, 195;
  supposed portrait, 11

Mantegna: relation to Donatello, 96, 150, 161, 187

Mark, St.: statue, 37

Martelli, David, 52, 113;
  patera, 176;
  shield, 68;
  St. John, 118

Martin V.: tomb of, 88

Marzocco, 67

Masaccio: paintings by, 161, 164, 195

Mataloni: horse's head, 175

Medallions in Medici palace, 97

Medallists, 59, 82

Medici:
  fountain, 166;
  exile, 88, 97;
  medallions, 97;
  Lorenzo de', 175

Medici, Capella, 185

Mengs, R.: criticism by, 27, 93

Meo: Donatello's assistant, 168

Michael Angelo:
  Moses, 15;
  technique, 53, 101;
  San Petronio, 71;
  relation to Donatello's art, 192;
  Bacchus, 192

Michelozzo, 39, 43, 48;
  partnership with Donatello, 72, 201;
  Brancacci tomb, 77;
  Aragazzi tomb, 76;
  Prato pulpit, 109;
  work at Milan, 115;
  statues of St. John, 149

Mino da Fiesole, 53, 191

Miracle reliefs at Padua, 156

Mocenigo: tomb, 14, 41

Montepulciano, Pasquino da, 75

Montorsoli, 46

Morosini: medallion, 97, 199

Moses: statue, 15


Nani: Donatello's assistant, 167

Nanni di Banco, 30, 190

Naples:
  Brancacci tomb, 77;
  bronze horse's head, 175

Narni: _see_ Gattamelata

Neroccio: sculptor, 70, 180, 192

Niccolò da Uzzano: bust, 121

Niccolo Niccoli, 194

Nollekens, 62

Nude: studies from, 101


Obadiah: statue, 18

d'Olanda, Francesco, 193

Orcagna, 6

Orlandini, Madonna, Berlin, 181

Orsa: Donatello's mother, 2, 202

Or san Michele: niche, 63, 104

Orvieto: Baptist for, 59


Padua in 1443, 149;
  work for altar, 149-176, 202

Pagno di Lapo, 78, 83

Painter: Donatello as, 59

Parthenon, 25, 105, 122

Pasquino da Montepulciano, 75

Patera Martelli, 176

Pazzi, Madonna, Berlin, 181

Pazzi:
  fountain, 66;
  shield, 68;
  frieze, 135

Pellegrini: chapel, 135, 184

Perseus, by Cellini, 141

Perugino: drawing by, 60

Peruzzi: drawings by, 60

Peter, St.: statue, 36

Petrarch, 90

Piero, Niccolo di; sculptor, 124

Pietà at Padua, bronze, 164

Piot: Madonna, 65

Pisa: Donatello at, 59, 78

Pisano Niccolo, 91

Pistoja: silver altar, 191

Plaquettes, 176

Pocetti, B.: drawing of façade of Duomo, 10

Poggio:
  statue, 12;
  on Rome, 90

Politics, influence of, 143

Pollaiuolo: his battle-piece, 179

Polychromacy, 121

Portrait of Donatello, 195

Pot tomb, Louvre, 79

Prato pulpit, 109

Procdocimus, St.: at Padua, bronze, 155

Pulpit Prato, 109
  San Lorenzo, 186


Quaratesi: shield, 68

Quercia: Jacopo della, 3, 70, 53;
  his school, 191;
  Siena font, 70


Realism, 26

Reymond, Marcel: criticism, 108

Reynolds, Sir J.:
  on drapery, 31;
  on Gothic art, 45

Riccio, 191

Robbia:
  Andrea della, 104;
  Donatello's pall bearer, 194

Robbia:
  Luca della, 73;
  cantoria, 106, 108;
  portraits by, 125;
  bronze doors, 135, 202;
  lunettes, 151

Rome:
  Donatello's first journey to, 4;
  statue of St. John at, 57;
  Crivelli tomb, 83;
  Donatello's second journey to, 88;
  Rome in 1433, 88;
  tabernacle in St. Peter's, 94

Rossellino, 66, 91, 119, 191

Rosso: sculptor, 18, 191

Rossore, San: bust, 130, 201


Savonarola, 21

Sebastian, St.:
  bronze, M. André, 177
  wood (now lost), 199

Sense of distance, 23
  light and shade, 29
  proportion, 30
  nature, 27

Sermoneta: Duca di, 9

Shields:
  heraldic, 67;
  Martelli, 68

Siena:
  cathedral font, 70, 201;
  figures from font, 114, 105;
  Pecci tomb, 84;
  marble Madonna, 181;
  St. John Baptist, 146;
  statues on façade, 175

Simone: sculptor, 2, 88, 191

Soderini: supposed portrait of, 20

Sogliani, T.: work on Magdalen, 144

Sportello Venice, 177
  Siena, 71

Squarcione, 150

Stiacciato, 80

Strabo: on marble, 78

Strozzi Filippo, 91

Strozzi Palla, 150

Summonte, 194

Sword hilt at Turin, 176

Symbols of Evangelists: Padua, 161


Tabernacle in Rome, 94

Technique: Donatello's, 53

Tita: Donatello's sister, 2, 202

Tombs:
  Coscia, drawings for, 61;
  history of, 72;
  Brancacci, 73, 77;
  Assumption, 80;
  Martin V., 88;
  Aragazzi, 73, 76;
  Medici Giovanni de', 72;
  Caretto, 82;
  Sixtus IV., 82;
  Albizzi, 83;
  Chellini, 83;
  Accaiuoli, 83;
  Crivelli, 83;
  Pecci, 84;
  Scaligers, 86;
  Rococo style, 87;
  Saltarello, 109;
  Fulgosio, 168;
  Gattamelata, 171;
  Roycelli, 170

Torrigiano, 80, 136

Turin sword hilt, 176

Turini, 70, 192


Ucello, Paolo: painter, 69, 195

Uffizzi gallery: drawings, 60

Urbano da Cortona, 191

Uzzano, Niccolò da: bust, 121


Valadier: sculptor, 97

Valente: Donatello's assistant, 168, 203

Vandalism, 8
  in Rome, 88

Vasari: passim

Vecchietta: sculptor, 191

Venice: horses of St. Mark's, 173
  statue of St. John, 146
  Sportello, 177

Verdiana, St.: reliquary, 200

Verona:
  Madonna, 182;
  sculpture on cathedral, 124;
  sculpture on San Zeno, 124

Verrocchio, 73, 99, 101, 105, 174

Vienna: entombment, 177

Vinci: Leonardo da, 22, 29, 66

Visconti, Marquise A.: Collection, 132, 185


Wallace Collection: reliefs, 110

Warfare: Donatello and, 65

Weisbach: Madonna, 184

Wemyss, Earl of, collection:
  Madonna, 81;
  St. Cecilia, 172;
  Walpole eagle, 162

Wood: employment in sculpture, 148


Zeno, San: Verona, 124

Zuccone: statue, 26, 96


Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO.
London & Edinburgh



       *       *       *       *       *



Uniform with this Volume

MICHAEL ANGELO BUONARROTI

BY

CHARLES HOLROYD

CURATOR OF THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF BRITISH ART

With Fifty-two Illustrations


"Mr. Holroyd has done excellent service. This story of a marvellous
career is full of human charm.... Valuable book."--_Standard._

"A serviceable and competent biography which many will be glad to
see.... Numerous and excellent illustrations."--_Literary World._

"A book that both the student and the general reader will find full of
interest. Extremely interesting and vividly recorded."--_Westminster
Gazette._

"Mr. Holroyd's comprehensive study will be found useful and
interesting. The illustrations are numerous and good."--_Manchester
Guardian._

"A really admirable picture of one who is perhaps the greatest
personality in the history of Art; and a sympathetic, yet critical
account of his works. Mr. Holroyd writes with knowledge and
enthusiasm.... Numerous and well-executed illustrations."--_Yorkshire
Post._

"This excellent work ... is as suited to the general reader as to the
artist. We do not find those deserts of literary speculation so common
to the lives of artists."--_Spectator._

"The volume gives in a convenient form almost everything that the
student for whom it is intended will need to know about Michael
Angelo, and will prove a safe guide to his works. The illustrations
are well chosen.... We are especially grateful for the engravings of
those frescoes in the Pauline Chapel which every one writes about and
no one publishes."--_New York Evening Post._

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PUBLISHERS HAVE ARRANGED TO ISSUE A

LIBRARY OF ART

IN STYLE SIMILAR TO THIS VOLUME


_ALL SCHOOLS AND PERIODS will be represented, but only the Greatest
Masters will emerge as Biographies. The rest will be treated in
relation to their fellows and forerunners as incidents of a
development._

_The Series will, it is hoped, reflect the subject in its true
proportions more closely than has been attempted hitherto. At the same
time, the scope of the Series will admit of occasional monographs on
little-known artists, when some specialist has been able to throw
light by new researches on an obscure period. The æsthetic side will
not be neglected, but the aim will be to make the Series a store-house
of that positive knowledge which must form the basis of all opinion._

       *       *       *       *       *

_The following is a List of the Volumes now arranged for_


THE CRITICISM OF ART

By A.J. FINBERG


SIX GREEK SCULPTORS

MYRON, PHEIDIAS
POLYKLEITOS, SKOPAS, PRAXITELES, AND LYSIPPOS

By ERNEST GARDNER

Professor of Greek Archæology at University College, London


ROMAN ART, FROM AUGUSTUS TO CONSTANTINE

By Mrs. ARTHUR STRONG (EUGÈNIE SELLERS), LL.D.


MEDIÆVAL ART, TO GIOTTO

By W.R. LETHABY


DUCCIO, AND THE BEGINNINGS OF ITALIAN PAINTING

By PROFESSOR LANGTON DOUGLAS


GIOTTO

By B. DE SELINCOURT


GHIRLANDAJO AND THE EARLIER FLORENTINES

By BECKWITH SPENCER

Assistant Professor at the South Kensington School of Art


DONATELLO

By LORD BALCARRES                                    [_Ready._


PISANELLO

By G.F. HILL

Of the Department of Coins and Medals in the British Museum


THE THREE BELLINI AND THE EARLIER VENETIANS

By G. McNEIL RUSHFORTH

Late Director of the British School at Rome


MICHAEL ANGELO BUONARROTI

By CHARLES HOLROYD                                [_Ready._


RAPHAEL AND HIS SCHOOL IN ROME

By C. RICKETTS


TITIAN

By DR. GEORG GRONAU


DÜRER

By T. STURGE MOORE


CORREGGIO

By T. STURGE MOORE


FRENCH PAINTING IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY

By L. DIMIER                                     [_Immediately._





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