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Part of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts
Sculptor close to Donatello (Italian, Florence ca. 1386–1466 Florence)
Date: ca. 1432Accession Number: 1983.356
Date: ca. 1475–1500Accession Number: 17.190.730a, b
Date: ca. 1460–80Accession Number: 17.190.499
Andrea Bregno (Italian, Osteno 1418–1503 Rome)
Date: 1491Accession Number: 17.190.1736a–c
Probably by Antonio Rossellino (Italian, Settignano 1427–ca. 1479 Florence)
Date: ca. 1470Accession Number: 2001.593
Attributed to the Workshop of Giuliano da Maiano (1432–1490) and Benedetto da Maiano (1442–1497)
Date: ca. 1489–91Accession Number: 30.93.2
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Fifteenth-century Italian artists saw themselves as working in a period of cultural rebirth, a "renaissance" of the art and philosophy of antiquity. Inspired by ancient Greek and Roman statuary, sculptors focused their attention on the human form, either unveiling it or using drapery to assert its physical presence. Subjects from Roman history and mythology offered new opportunities to experiment with the nude, while Christian devotional images were made more compelling through natural-looking gestures and facial expressions. Emotional expressiveness was a particular preoccupation of that most innovative of Florentine sculptors, Donatello (ca. 1386–1466), whose impact can be seen in several of the works shown here.
Many of the sculptures on view were carved or modeled. In carving, the form is revealed by removing material—for instance, stone or wood—using sharp tools. In modeling, wet clay is built up (and sometimes scooped out) into the desired shape and then fired in a kiln. The resulting material is called terracotta (literally, "cooked earth"). Color and gilding could be added to make a work more lifelike or beautiful. Also featured in this gallery are domestic furnishings and religious accessories, revealing the breadth of techniques in which Italian artists excelled—from working with gold and wood to silk weaving and embroidery.
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