This old Florentine sculptor was born in 1383. He was the first of the moderns who forsook the stiff and gothic manner, and endeavored to restore to sculpture the grace and beauty of the antique. He executed a multitude of works in wood, marble and bronze, consisting of images, statues, busts, basso-relievos, monuments, equestrian statues, etc. which gained him great reputation, and some of which are much esteemed at the present day. He was much patronized by Cosmo de' Medici, and his son Pietro.

Among Donatello's principal works, are three statues, each three braccia and a half high, (Vasari erroneously says four, and each five braccia high), for the façade of the church of Santa Maria del Fiore, which faces the Campanile. They represent St. John; David, called Lo Zuccone (so called, because bald-headed); and Solomon, or as some say, the prophet Jeremiah. The Zuccone is considered the most extraordinary and the most beautiful work ever produced by Donatello, who, while working on it, was so delighted with his success, that he frequently exclaimed, "Speak then! why wilt thou not speak?" Whenever he wished to affirm a thing in a manner that should preclude all doubt, he would say, "By the faith I place in my Zuccone."