Donatello at MOBIA

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello, the new exhibit of never-to-be-shown-in-the-U.S.-again Renaissance masterpieces, now at the Museum of Biblical Art near Columbus Circle [Editor’s Note: MOBIA is defunct as of 2016], would probably have been better if it were about sculpture in the age of Donatella– i.e. the 80s. Yes, the works by Donatello and his contemporaries, made especially for the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore or Florence Cathedral, are beautifully crafted and enticing. But at the same time, the reason to go to the exhibit is not for the wondrous quality of the sculptures displayed, but for the opportunity. The chance to see pieces that have never left, and will never again leave, their place in Florence is once-in-a-lifetime. It doesn’t matter that maybe Donatello hasn’t achieved the same level of life from within his sculptures (they don’t yet seem to breathe) as say, Bernini, because the pieces are lovely just the same. Lovely, meaning that they’re nice to look at, but not meaning that they are in any way more compelling than the next thing. As with all art, their power is subjective. Go and see if Donatello speaks to you. Bonus: check out the film next door that gives you an inside tour of the Cathedral the sculptures call home.


  1. Fascinating report of your visit today. Thank you for sharing your opinions. I’m really impressed and now the warmer weather seems to be here, we hope, I can get out and follow your recommendations. I now feel I have a personal guide in you. Many thanks for opening my eyes to new exhibits. Amazing. Bless you.

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