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Donatello, The Sacrifice of Isaac (detail), c. 1421. Image Courtesy Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone.

NEW YORK, NY.- Monumental sculptures by Donatello—as well as major works by Filippo Brunelleschi, Luca della Robbia, Nanni di Banco, and other artists—are on view for the first time in the United States in an unprecedented exhibition at the Museum of Biblical Art in New York City. Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces from Florence Cathedral features 23 seminal works created for the façade and interior of the Duomo in Florence. The exhibition offers visitors an intimate and uniquely layered experience of these early Renaissance treasures—underscoring the aesthetic, technical, and historical significance of these works, as well as their religious context and function as an expression of spiritual belief and their makers’ faith. Organized in an extraordinary partnership with the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore and its Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, and co-curated by the Museo dell’Opera’s Director Timothy Verdon and Harvard-based Donatello scholar Daniel Zolli, Sculpture in the Age of Donatello is on view at MOBIA from February 20 through June 14, 2015 as the centerpiece of the Museum’s 10th anniversary celebration. 

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Donatello, Saint John the Evangelist, c. 1409-1411. Image Courtesy Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone.

The Opera is committed to highlighting both the historical and religious significance of the masterpieces of its museum. This made MOBIA an ideal partner in this endeavor,” said Franco Lucchesi, president of the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore. “The majority of these works have never before left Italy, and it is unlikely they will ever repeat the journey—we therefore hope that this exhibition will serve as an ambassador to rediscovering an experience of religious feeling through art, and to deepening the understanding of a moment in our city’s history that profoundly influenced Western culture.” 

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Donatello,Saint John the Evangelist (detail), c. 1409-1411. Image Courtesy Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone.

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello charts the course of the early Renaissance through the lens of a dynamic workshop of creativity—a close-knit group of artists who trained together, were both mentors and rivals, and all of whom influenced one another. The exhibition focuses on works created between 1400 and 1450 for the Cathedral’s original design, which was spearheaded by architect and sculptor Arnolfo di Cambio and only ever partially completed. It was during this 50-year period that the Duomo’s titanic dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, was erected, transforming the Cathedral into the architectural icon it is today. 

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Giovanni D'Ambrogio, The Annunciation, late fourteenth-century. Image Courtesy Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone.

The exhibition’s installation, designed by Studio Joseph, New York, presents a streamlined, contemporary approach to the display of these historic objects that evokes the architectural niches for which they were created. Each sculpture is gradually revealed as viewers move throughout the gallery, evoking the sense of moving through a grand and ethereal space while enabling viewers to examine each sculpture in detail.

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Giovanni D'Ambrogio, The Annunciation (detail: Angel), late fourteenth-century. Image Courtesy Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone.

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Donatello, Prophet Habbakuk (or "Lo Zuccone"), c. 1423-35. Image Courtesy Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone.

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Nanni di Banco, Saint Luke, c. 1408. Image Courtesy Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone.

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Donatello, Bronze Head (for "Cantoria"), c. 1433. Image Courtesy Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone.

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Filippo Brunelleschi,Model of the Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, c. 1420-1436. Image Courtesy Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone.