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Donatello, by Lord Balcarres   By: (1871-1940)

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David Lindsay Crawford's biography, Donatello, by Lord Balcarres, is an impeccably researched and thought-provoking exploration of the life and art of the renowned Italian sculptor Donatello. Without offering a distinct title, the book delves into the intricacies of Donatello's upbringing, his influences, and the societal context that shaped his distinctive artistic style.

Crawford's writing style is engaging and evocative, effortlessly transporting readers back to the Renaissance period. With meticulous attention to detail, the author offers a vivid portrayal of Donatello's early life in Florence and his apprenticeship under the influential artist Lorenzo Ghiberti. Through his eloquent narrative, Crawford successfully captures the essence of the era, providing readers with a comprehensive understanding of the cultural and artistic developments that shaped Donatello's career.

One of the book's strengths lies in its exploration of Donatello's artistic evolution. Crawford skillfully traces the artist's journey from his early experiments with sculpture to his groundbreaking works in bronze and marble. Through a series of insightful analyses, the author sheds light on the innovative techniques used by Donatello, highlighting his ability to breathe life into his creations and capture intricate details with astonishing precision.

In addition to showcasing his technical prowess, the biography also delves into the emotional depth of Donatello's sculptures. Crawford delves into the symbolism and deeper meanings behind some of Donatello's most celebrated pieces, offering readers a profound insight into the artist's intentions and the stories he sought to convey through his works.

However, one minor shortcoming of the biography is its occasional lack of accessibility for readers unfamiliar with Renaissance art history. Though the book admirably portrays the context in which Donatello worked, readers without prior knowledge of the artistic movements and historical events of the time may find it challenging to fully engage with the material. An additional glossary or explanatory footnotes could have been included to aid in understanding the intricacies of art history.

Despite this minor drawback, Crawford's biography remains a valuable contribution to the field of Renaissance art studies. Through meticulous research and perceptive analysis, the author paints a comprehensive portrait of Donatello, shedding light on the complexities of his life, his artistic development, and his lasting impact on the world of sculpture.

Overall, Donatello, by Lord Balcarres, is an engrossing and illuminating biography that admirably brings to life the extraordinary talent and legacy of one of Italy's greatest sculptors. Crawford's expertise and dedication shine through on every page, making this book a must-read for art enthusiasts, historians, and anyone intrigued by the creative process and the enduring allure of Renaissance art.

First Page:




[Illustration: Alinari



[Illustration: DESORMAIS]

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


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

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