Artibus et Historiae no. 76 (XXXVIII)

2017, ISSN 0391-9064

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SARAH BLAKE McHAM - Voids Matter: Donatello’s Lamentation (pp. 77–93)

Donatello’s small bronze relief of the Lamentation, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is one of the most moving and expressive masterpieces in his career. The bronze is cast with unfinished surfaces as Donatello sometimes favored, particularly in his late sculpture, but nowhere else did he – or any other Renaissance sculptor – deliberately cut out voids between the figures. This essay will offer new insights into the underlying devotional reasons and the visual sources for this break with tradition. It will also suggest that the bronze relief was never intended to be a panel for the portals of Siena Cathedral, as sometimes argued, but was instead created for private worship.

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