Donatello, the Renaissance is the title of a major exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi and the Bargello Museum in Florence, staged with the desire to correct an injustice done to the Tuscan sculptor, who had not previously been the subject of a bona fide exhibition. It promises to be a turning point for studies on the art of the early Italian Renaissance, and, in particular, on the Florentine sculptor, whose full name was Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (ca. 1386-1466). The exhibition being held March 19 – July 31, 2022, is only the first stage of a wide itinerary with stops planned in Berlin and London. A catalog has been carefully prepared for the occasion by Francesco Caglioti, in collaboration with Laura Cavazzini, Aldo Galli and Neville Rowley, along with an updated bibliography.
The initiative stems from a long series of exhibitions over the last 20 years, which have prepared for the current project. The focus on 15th-century artists – Masaccio, in the memorable exhibition at San Giovanni Valdarno (2002); Mantegna, with the two exhibitions at the Louvre (2008) and Turin (2020); and Verrocchio, with the exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi (2019) – have indirectly attracted attention to Donatello.
Moreover, Luciano Bellosi’s studies on late Florentine Gothic art have paved the way for new research. Thanks to these studies it is generally accepted today that the first step toward the Renaissance was taken in the field of sculpture, and more precisely in the recovery of the sculptural techniques of antiquity.