Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 5069
  • Author(s)/Creator(s):
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  • Title: Donatello's Bronze "David" and "Judith" as Metaphors of Medici Rule in Florence
  • Source: Art Bulletin 83, 1 (March 2001): Pages 32 - 47.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Art History- Sculpture Donatello, Artist- Judith and Holofernes Judith (Biblical Figure) in Art Medici, Florentine Family Politics Propaganda Tyranny and Tyrannicide Women in Art
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 15
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  • Illustrations: Thirteen illustrations. Figure One Donatello, "Judith and Holofernes," bronze (Florence, Palazzo Vecchio). Figure Two Donatello, "David," bronze (Florence, Museo Nazionale del Bargello). Figure Three Attributed to Michelozzo, Medici Palace courtyard, view toward garden (Florence). Figure Four Donatello, "David," marble (Florence, Museo Nazionale del Bargello). Figure Five Donatello, "Judith," side view. Figure Six Donatello, "Judith," back view. Figure Seven Donatello, "Judith," - Detail "Head of Judith." Figure Eight "Tyrannicide: Harmodios," Roman copy in marble of original Greek bronze (Naples, Museo Nazionale). Figure Nine "Tyrannicide: Aristogeiton," Roman copy in marble of original Greek bronze (Naples, Museo Nazionale). Figure Ten "Marsyas," Roman sculpture with restorations attributed to Mino da Fiesole, marble (Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi). Figure Eleven Attributed to Donatello, Roundel of centaur, stone (Florence, Medici Palace Courtyard). Figure Twelve Attributed to Donatello, Roundel of Daedalus and Icarus, stone (Florence, Medici Palace courtyard). Figure Thirteen Attributed to Donatello, Roundel of the Triumph of Bacchus, stone (Florence, Medici Palace courtyard).
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  • Abstract: Donatello's bronze "David" and "Judith and Holofernes" should be considered a de facto pair. As recently confirmed, they were the only two modern freestanding sculptures displayed in the outdoor spaces of the Medici Palace from about 1464- 1466 to 1495. The related discovery of an inscription praising "David" as a tyrant slayer accords with a similar inscription once on the "Judith and Holofernes." This new evidence is combined with a demonstration of how the two sculptures evoke John of Salisbury's writings and the Athenian statues known as the "Tyrannicides" to establish the Medici as defenders of Florentine liberty. [Reproduced by permission of the College Art Association].
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  • Year of Publication: 2001.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00043079
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