Perhaps Donatello’s landmark work – and one of the greatest sculptural works of the early Renaissance – was his bronze statue of David. This work signals the return of the nude sculpture in the round figure, and because it was the first such work like this in over a thousand years, it is one of the most important works in the history of western art.
David (Michelangelo) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In examining Verrocchio's work as a sculptor we are on surer ground. One of his earliest works was the beautiful marble medallion of the Madonna, over the tomb of Leonardo Bruni of Arezzo in the church of Santa Croce at Florence. In 1472 Verrocchio completed the fine tomb of Giovanni and Piero de Medici, between the sacristy and the lady chapel of San Lorenzo at Florence. This consists of a great porphyry sarcophagus enriched with magnificent acanthus foliage in bronze. Above it is a graceful open bronze grill, made like a network of cordage. In 1474 Verrocchio began the monument to Cardinal Forteguerra at the west end of Pistoia cathedral. The kneeling figure of the cardinal was never completed, and now lies in a room of La Sapienza, but the whole design is shown in what is probably Verrocchio's original clay sketch, now in the South Kensington Museum. Though this work was designed by Verrocchio, the actual execution of it was entrusted to his assistant, the Florentine Lorenzetto. In 1476 Verrocchio modelled and cast the fine but too realistic bronze statue of David, now in the Bargello (Florence); and in the following year he completed one of the reliefs of the magnificent silver altar-frontal of the Florentine baptistery, that representing the "Beheading of St. John." Verrocchio's other works in the precious metals are now lost, but Vasari records that he made many elaborate pieces of plate and jewelry, such as morses for copes, as well as a series of silver statues of the Apostles for the pope's chapel in the Vatican. Between 1478 and 1483 he was occupied in making the bronze group of the "Unbelief of St. Thomas", which still stands in one of the external niches of Or San Michele (Florence). He received 800 florins for these two figures, which are more remarkable for the excellence of their technique than for their sculpturesque beauty. The attitudes are rather rigid and the faces hard in expression.
Donatello's David - SUNY Oneonta
Fifteenth century Italy witnessed a resurgence of art through the works of Donatello, the greatest and probably the most influential individual artist and sculpture then. Donatello, from an early age, showed signs of making it big in the world of art and sculpture. Pursuing his interest, he apprenticed early and meticulously learned the detailed nuances of the field. As such, he started receiving commissions for his work early on. Famous for his larger-than-life figures, Donatello evolved as an artist; his latter works being a stark contrast to his earlier ones, in terms of innovativeness. He infused emotions to his work, his sculptures denote feelings of suffering, joy, sorrow and happiness through their face and body position. His most famous work was a bronze statue of David, depicting an allegory of civic virtues winning over brutality and irrationality. The statue was one-of-its-kind for it was the first sculpture to stand independently, devoid of any architectural surrounding.
Statue of David - Florence Web Guide