Trivium Art History

St. George

St. George, 1415 — Donatello,
214 cm

The youthful period of Donatello is typified by his St George. This statue, executed around 1416, was placed in a niche on the north wall of Orsanmichele. The tensed expression of the young face shows its affinity with the ideal of David in the Bargello. The cloak gathered over the chest in a tight knot falls in folds whose spiral line retains an echo of the Gothic world, as does the position of the statue in its niche. But the problem of space has been overcome, and the St George, turning on the axis of the shield, moves with a great visionary force.

The base of the niche, with the bas-relief representing the saint's combat with the dragon for the freeing of the Princess of Cappadocia, also assumes a role of great importance due to the artist's use of the technique known as rilievo stiacciato, or flattened relief.

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