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Ground Breaking Donatello Exhibition

A collection of bronzes sculpted by Renaissance master Donatello has been moved for the first time from the Italian churches where he installed them 600 years ago so that they can be displayed at a spectacular new exhibition in Florence.

Part of the bronze relief, the Feast of Herod, being cleaned before the exhibition. Photograph: Opificio delle Pietre Dure

Three of the four pieces, a relief, a statue and two bronze doors, from Siena Cathedral and San Lorenzo baptistery in Florence, are also being restored to their former glory using techniques ranging from chiselling with porcupine needles to thermo-graphing to discover structural weaknesses.

The delicate operation is taking place ahead of the first ever exhibition of all major works by Donatello (1386-1466), the Florentine-born sculptor who has often been called the first genius of the Renaissance period.

One of the statues from the baptismal font in Siena Cathedral being cleaned with a porcupine quill. Photograph: Opificio delle Pietre Dure

From 19 March until 31 July, the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and the Bargello in Florence, home to Donatello’s most famous marble, David, will jointly showcase around 130 sculptures, paintings and drawings with loans from over 50 of the world’s leading museums and institutions.

The Staatliche Museum in Berlin will host its own version of the exhibition from 2 September 2022 to 8 January 2023, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London will stage its exhibition later in 2023.


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