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Donatello
by David Lindsay, Earl of Crawford
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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 e 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 felicita 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. "E 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 citta 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 aesthetic. 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.]

* * * * *



[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 Andre 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.]

* * * * *



[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.]



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 Terribilita 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 balcona 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.]



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 semee 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'Orleans. 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 Chimaera 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 florencee. 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.]

* * * * *



[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 patriae suae"; 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 elan 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.]

* * * * *



[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 facade 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. "Haec 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.]

* * * * *



[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 Senechal 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 repousse 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 Medailleurs Italiens," 1887, iii. p. 3.]

* * * * *



[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 applique 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," sec. 6, "et ut in ecclesiis nihil indecens relinquatur, iidem provideant, ut capsae 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 Portraet 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 Romae 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 mediaeval 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 aedif. 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 repraesentet, in "De Varietate fortunae urbis Romae." Nov. Thes. Antiq. Rom., i. 502.]

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

[Footnote 118: Written about 1450. "De re aedificatoria." 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 e 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 e 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-etre 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.]

* * * * *



[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.

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