Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Donatello's Mary Magdalene
Donatello was an early Renaissance artist and sculptor from Florence. The work I chose to discuss is his wooden sculpture of Mary Magdalene. This sculpture was made for the Bapistry In Florence.
When looking at the sculpture you can see that she is portrayed as grotesque looking. She is shown wasting away to portray the ravages of her fastings and abstinence. She is being shown as praying because she has sinned and she wants forgiveness. The strong and beautiful arms of the statue are symbolic of the power of prayer and how it can help redeem people.
It is said that before Donatello created this sculpture he may have been gravely ill and might explain why he hadn't created anything in a few years. It's also said that the withered look of Mary Magdalene's body may be insight into Donatello's own psychological reality at the time. Donatello previously had always shown strong, beautiful bodies in his works.
In 1966 there was a flood in Florence that had ruined the original sculpture. When it was restored the original painted surface was shown and you could see realistic flesh tones and golden highlights in Mary Magdalene's hair.
"Bluffton University". Bluffton University. March 2, 2010 http://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/italy/florence/duomomuseo/0005ps.jpg.
Kren, Emil, Marx, Daniel. "Web Gallery of Art". March 2, 2010 http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/bio/d/donatell/biograph.html.
Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History: Fourteenth to Seventeenth Century Art 4. 5 vols.
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc., 2009.