Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi, universally known just as Donatello, can be considered the most important sculptor of early the Renaissance. Born in Florence in 1386, he studied classical sculpture and was also taught goldsmith working in the workshop of Lorenzo Ghiberti, and later befriended Filippo Brunelleschi. Donatello used his humanistic background to develop a complete Renaissance style in sculpture, different from the still lathe gothic style of his predecessors, hence making him the first to revive ancient Roman art. He traveled and worked long periods in Rome, Padua and Siena and had a long and productive career. He worked with stone, bronze, wood, clay, stucco, and wax, and had several assistants creating the bases for the new renaissance sculpture to became popular. His best-known works were mostly statues in the round, but his most important achievement is probably the development of a new, very shallow, type of bas-relief for small works, which was very influential in the years to come, with also Michelangelo using the technique called “stiacciato”, even if a good part of his work was larger architectural reliefs.
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