Born in 1386, Donatello (real name: Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi) entered the workshop of Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455), who was busy working on his first set of doors of the Baptistery. Two years later (in 1406), Donatello was awarded a commission to sculpt two prophets for the exterior of the cathedral.
He journeyed to Rome with Filippo Brunelleschi, and the two of them had fun studying ancient buildings and ruins, and digging up antiquities.
Though he mainly worked in Florence, he did receive commissions in Prato, Padua, and Venice. His most important patron was Cosimo de’Medici, the most powerful man in 15th century Florence. He died in 1466, and is buried alongside his most illustrious patron in the crypt at the basilica of San Lorenzo.
Where to see Donatello in Florence:
- The Baptistery
- Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (when it reopens in late 2015)
- Basilicas of Santa Croce and San Lorenzo
- Palazzo Vecchio