Art Review : Donatello 's Zuccone Essay

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Art Review: Donatello’s Zuccone

David Donatello sculpted his Zuccone some time between 1423 and 1425. The identity of the Zuccone, meaning “squash head” or “bald-head” in Italian, remains a mystery among art scholars. Speculation has been placed that the Zuccone could be the prophet Habakkuk. However, little to no consensus has been reached on its identity. The Catholic Church commissioned the work; they intended it to be a decoration for the Florence Cathedral bell tower, which stood seventy feet high. Its location in Florence, Italy, its Catholic commissioning origins, and the time period, in which it was constructed, indicates that the Zuccone is a product of the early Italian Renaissance. The art of the early Italian Renaissance consisted of three primary characteristics: classicism, perfectionism (in terms of anatomy), and humanism. Donatello’s Zuccone embodies all three qualities, making it a quintessential early Italian Renaissance piece.
What does it mean for an art piece, or in this case a sculpture, to be classical? The Renaissance, meaning, “re-birth” was a movement that gave rise to the revival of Greco-Roman ideals in art and education. The classical sculpture of Ancient Greece and Rome had made its way to the forefront again, after being lost during the Middle Ages. As one may notice, the Zuccone holds the appearance of a Roman Senator in his toga with a shaven head (although not all were bald!). The robes or togas on sculptures in Greco-Roman times…

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