Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Page 3

Martelli Saint John, ca. 1440-1457, Settignano and Donatello

Martelli Saint John by Settignano and Donatello also demonstrates the idea that a mathematical equation could also be used to describe the figure in relation to the body. This equation has been demonstrated several times in the history of painting and especially the Renaissance. Several times in Renaissance history have geometric equations been used but none so exquisitely as with this piece. I am wondering where Settignano came from. He almost seems too gorgeous in his application to be an Italian artist. But then again when you look at the development of Gothic French sculpture next to Gothic painting and the development to Renaissance, the refinement is almost revolutionary in application. Perhaps Settignano came from a different place like Germany for secular studies. His technique seemed at the peak of Renaissance sculptures development. They seemed far more advanced in intellectual freedom. Unlike the Renaissance painters who seemed influenced by embroidery, Italian Renaissance sculpture seems far more influenced by architecture and churches. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Page 2

High Altar (detail, also below), Basilica del Santo, Padua, c. 1446-1450, Donatello

The Giotto painting in the Scrovegni Chapel was a gorgeous offering to God. Like Giotto's work, Donatello sculpture always looks like it has been finished by his assistants or a hired professional, a common practice in Renaissance Italy. The organic quality in these pieces makes you feel like Donatello is in his element with clay modelling. The church where the late Donatello's High Altar is housed has an interesting mathematical equation with the design. You feel the altar is placed in the form of a cross and is brought forward to demonstrate this. The position the church faces would have been acknowledged by God and the front entrance also participates to this idea.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Embroidering the Constellations

Martelli Saint John (detail), ca. 1440-1457, Settignano and Donatello

Embroidering the Constellations

This is a project I have been thinking of for a very long time. An equation about my favourite sculpture by Settignano and Donatello called Martelli Saint John, ca. 1440-1457. The sculpture is of Saint John as a youth and is one of the finest sculptures ever made. I remember on my first trip to Italy, I visited Rome for several days and then viewing sculpture in Florence was my kind of heaven. It was as though they had refined sculpture to its highest peak, the perfect size and proportion for sculpture, almost slightly smaller than life size. It was the first time I had seen the work of Luca della Robbia and Andrea del Verrochio as well.

Mary Magdalene, c. 1453-1455, Donatello

Donatello's Mary Magdalene, c. 1453-1455 was also a treat with her haggard face and sculptured hair, reminding you of Camile Claudel's Clotho, 1893, in Paris. Padua is also an interesting place to view Donatello and Giotto. The intellectual freedom in the city made for some very organic painting similar to embroidered fabric it emulated like Cosme Tura and Carlo Crivelli.

Cosme Tura

Carlo Crivelli

The garden theme was continued in the tomb of Saint Anthony by Donatello.