An outstanding interdisciplinary volume exploring seminal Renaissance artworks in the context of the cathedral for which they were created
“Superb”—Barrymore Laurence Scherer, The Wall Street Journal
Edited by Timothy Verdon and Daniel M. Zolli
With contributions by Timothy Verdon, Daniel M. Zolli, Amy R. Bloch, Marco Ciatti, and Stefano Nicastri
With fresh insights and superb new photography, Sculpture in the Age of Donatello offers a close look at the genesis of the early Renaissance in Florence. Focusing on a group of works made in the first half of the fifteenth century for Florence Cathedral (the Duomo), this volume highlights the ingenuity and spirit of competition that drove this multi-faceted project. Sculpture gave expression to new humanist ideas, and Donatello, one of the most influential and versatile sculptors of the Renaissance, was a main innovator. This engaging account places Donatello’s major early works alongside those of his contemporaries—masters such as Lorenzo Ghiberti, Nanni di Banco, and Luca della Robbia.
Four essays by outstanding scholars interpret the sculptures in a variety of contexts. Timothy Verdon looks at the ways that art communicated the cathedral’s meaning; Daniel M. Zolli surveys Donatello’s activity at the cathedral, calling attention to the particular challenges—technical, practical, and conceptual—that each commission posed, and to the
artist’s innovative solutions; Amy R. Bloch investigates the organization and influence of Ghiberti’s workshop as well as his engagement with humanism and its reflection in the famous Gates of Paradise, his second set of baptistry doors; and Marco Ciatti casts new light on Ghiberti’s first set of baptistry doors with a look at the current project to conserve and restore them. A catalogue presents twenty-three masterpieces from the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence, including nine works by Donatello. In a final short essay Verdon offers a glimpse of Florence’s new Museo dell’Opera
del Duomo or “Cathedral Works Museum.”
Timothy Verdon is Director of the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo and Professor of Art History at the Stanford University Florence Center. He is Canon of Florence Cathedral and Director of the Office for Church Heritage of the Archdiocese of Florence. His publications include Francesco d’Assis negli affreschi di Giotto, and the three-volume La cattedrale e la città: saggi sul Duomo di Firenze. Atti del VII centenario del Duomo di Firenze, for which he was co-editor.
Daniel M. Zolli is assistant Professor of Art History, Penn State College of Arts & Architecture
Amy R. Bloch is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY). She has published essays on Ghiberti, Donatello, and the decoration of the Florence baptistry.
Marco Ciatti is Superintendent of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, an institution of the Italian Ministry of Culture and world leader in the field of art restoration. He is also director of the Opificio’s Conservation Laboratory for Easel Paintings
and Textiles and teaches history and theory of conservation.
Stefano Nicastri is an architect and art historian who has collaborated for many years with the Italian Ministry of Culture’s Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione in the areas of Renaissance and Baroque art and architecture.
Table of Contents
- Foreword: Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore
- Foreword: Museum of Biblical Art
- Florence Cathedral, Renaissance Sculpture, Sacred Scripture by Timothy Verdon
- Donatello’s Visions: The Sculptor at Florence Cathedral by Daniel M. Zolli
- Lorenzo Ghiberti: From the Early Workshop to the Gates of Paradise by Amy R. Bloch
- “…with immense diligence and discipline”: Lorenzo Ghiberti’s North Doors and the Opificio delle Pietre Dure’s Conservation and Restoration Project by Marco Ciatti
- The New Museo dell’Opera del Duomo by Timothy Verdon
- Selected Bibliography
- Photo Credits
- Board Members and Staff
- Statement from the Guild of the Dome