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V&A Donatello exhibition to open in February 2023

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

A major exhibition on the Renaissance master Donatello is to open at the Victoria and Albert Museum next year.

Opening in February 2023, Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance will be the first time a major UK museum has explored the artist’s exceptional talents, and many works will have never been seen in Britain before.

One of the biggest highlights will be Donatello’s early marble David, which he made when he was in his 20s. It comes to London from the collection of the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence.

Over 130 objects will be on show, and exceptional international loans will be complimented by key pieces from the V&A’s collection, which has the most extensive holdings of Italian Renaissance sculpture outside Italy. Other highlights include the bronze Attis-Amorino, the reliquary bust of San Rossore, and bronzes from the High Altar of the Basilica of St Anthony in Padua.

The marble statue of David by Donatello, standing on a plinth with a plain black background
Donatello, David, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence, courtesy of the Ministry of Culture. Photo: Bruno Bruchi

Why are Donatello's sculptures famous?

Donatello (c.1386-1466) is arguably the greatest sculptor of all time. He worked with a full range of sculptural materials and techniques, including marble, bronze, wood, terracotta and stucco, and he contributed to major commissions of church and state. He was highly sought after in many Italian cities. He had an innovative technique and he combined ideas from both classical and medieval sculpture to create works that were novel, yet with an element of the traditional. He inspired generations of artists that followed.

The exhibition focuses on the work he created during his lifetime, and his immediate followers.

Peta Motture, Exhibition Lead Curator of Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance said that Donatello was “an inspiration to artists across the centuries” and that the exhibition will help visitors “discover Donatello’s astonishing talents and his wide-ranging impact on Renaissance and later art.”

The exhibition will come to London from Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie. It debuted earlier this year in Florence split between the Bargello and the Palazzo Piti.

How much is the Donatello exhibition at the V&A?

Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance runs from 11 February until 11 June 2023. Adult tickets are £20, under-26 tickets are £13, and are on sale now.

The exhibition has been developed in collaboration with Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence, and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. It is supported by Rocco Forte Hotels.


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