|The modern, the renaissance and the classical - a study in character.|
The creators of this exhibition suggest that it was from sculpture more than painting that the Renaissance sprang, and they see the initial glimmer in the form of the two bronze relief panels submitted in 1401 by Brunelleschi and Ghiberti for the competition to create a set of new bronze doors of the Florentine baptistery. Sculpting scenes based on an identical biblical story, both artists combined Gothic elegance of costume and scenery with human figures inspired by classical sculpture. From this point on, the exhibition is dominated by the sculpture and spirit of Donatello, who did his apprenticeship in the workshops of Brunelleschi and Ghiberti. Donatello strongly influenced his contemporaries, both sculptors and painters, among whom we may count Michelozzo, Masaccio, Filippo Lippi, Paolo Uccello and Andrea del Castagno, stylistically and through his introduction of perspective in his low relief works.
|Single point perspective, classical depiction of the human form and draperies|
- Donatello's St George and the Dragon in very shallow relief.
The spatial organisation of the exhibition is excellent, not least with the placement of a huge, 4th century BC, bronze horse's head, the Medici Protome, visible through an arch from the first room of the show. Later, when we enter this room, Donatello's Carafa Protome, is revealed, and we can easily see why it was long thought to be a classical work.
|Donatello or ancient Greek? Visit this exhibition to find out which!|
At the appropriate points in the exhibition, Classical sculpture including portrait busts and sarcophagus friezes, are juxtaposed with early Renaissance works in which the artists were evidently struggling to relearn the artistic skills of the Greeks and Romans, especially in depicting the human form. At other points, the juxtapositions of contemporary paintings and sculptures emphasize how painters set out to make their paintings more sculptural
|Painters set out to make their paintings more sculptural.|
During my visit at the end of April, viewers were sparse and I often had entire rooms to myself. You can also view the exhibits close up, with a magnifying glass if you wish (and have one with you). In most of their native museums, this is surely not possible. Try to attend this show early or at least in Florence. It will definitely be packed out when it moves to Paris
More about La Primavera del Rinascimento.
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Author: Anna Maria Baldini
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