Exhibitions


  • Donatello
    The Sacrifice of Isaac (detail), c. 1421
    Image Courtesy Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone

  • Donatello
    Saint John the Evangelist, c. 1409-1411
    Image Courtesy Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone

  • Donatello
    Saint John the Evangelist (detail), c. 1409-1411
    Image Courtesy Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone

  • Giovanni D'Ambrogio
    The Annunciation, late fourteenth-century
    Image Courtesy Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone

  • Giovanni D'Ambrogio
    The Annunciation (detail: Angel), late fourteenth-century
    Image Courtesy Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone

  • Donatello
    Prophet Habbakuk (or "Lo Zuccone"), c. 1423-35
    Image Courtesy Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone

  • Nanni di Banco
    Saint Luke, c. 1408
    Image Courtesy Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone

  • Donatello
    Bronze Head (for "Cantoria"), c. 1433
    Image Courtesy Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone

  • Filippo Brunelleschi
    Model of the Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, c. 1420-1436
    Image Courtesy Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone


Sculpture in the Age of Donatello

Renaissance Masterpieces from Florence Cathedral

February 20–June 14, 2015

Twenty-three masterpieces of early Florentine Renaissance sculpture—most never seen outside Italy—will be exhibited at MOBIA as the centerpiece of the Museum’s tenth anniversary season. MOBIA will be the sole world-wide venue for this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition. These works—by Donatello, Brunelleschi, Nanni di Banco, Luca della Robbia and others—were made in the first decades of the fifteenth century for Florence Cathedral ("Il Duomo"), which was then in the last phase of its construction, and are figural complements to Brunelleschi’s soaring dome, conveying an analogous sense of courage and human potential. Like the dome, these statues of prophets and saints express the spiritual tension of a faith-driven humanism destined to transform Western culture.

This tightly focused exhibition features works all created as components of larger programs for the exterior and interior of the Cathedral from around 1400 until 1450. They include statues and reliefs by Nanni di Banco and Donatello from the lateral entry known as the "Porta della Mandorla"; two larger-than-life seated evangelist figures made to flank the church’s main western portal, again by Nanni and Donatello; two of Donatello’s life-size figures of Old Testament personages from the Bell Tower; and three of the hexagonal reliefs carved by Luca della Robbia to complete a fourteenth-century series of scenes of Florentine life, also from the Bell Tower. In addition, the exhibition includes the two bronze heads with which Donatello adorned his "cantoria", or singing gallery, inside the Cathedral in 1439. Also on view will be two Brunelleschi wood models of the dome—one relating to the overall structure and the other to the titanic lantern—and three early fifteenth-century stone reliefs derived from scenes on Ghiberti’s first bronze doors for the Baptistery facing the Cathedral.  

The significance of the exhibition derives in part from its single-site specificity. Sculpture in the Age of Donatello brings together objects made for the same location by artists who knew each other personally, offering a moving, close-up look at the project which more than any other shaped the early Florentine Renaissance: the completion of "Il Duomo".

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The exhibition is organized by Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, and the Museum of Biblical Art, New York.

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello is made possible by the generous support of Howard and Roberta Ahmanson. Additional support provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the D.D. and Velma Davis Foundation, Eugene and Jean Stark, the Robert Lehman Foundation, and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

Major support for MOBIA's exhibitions and programs is provided by American Bible Society and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

 

     

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