Renaissance Artists

I have a confession to make.

I’m an Art Historian and I still think of Raphael, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Donatello as the Ninja Turtle artists. I’d like to say that it’s what happens when you’re from my generation, but I don’t really know how my fellow art history students feel about it.


Interesting fact: in the 19th century, Raphael was by far the most famous Renaissance artist, not Da Vinci or Michelangelo. On the XKCD chart of notoriety as ninja turtle vs. Renaissance artist, he’d be Donatello, except with the colors switched. Except that they didn’t really have Ninja Turtles in the 19th century…that was a 1980’s creation. But still! Also, an avant-garde movement in nineteenth century England was called the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, in an attempt to go back to the perceived innocence and sincerity of Raphael and artists who came before him.

Also, as a shout-out to Donatello, the one, according to XKCD who is least famous today as an artist (and we know that XKCD never lies), here are some nice pieces that he did.

Donatello, David, c. 1440, photo by Patrick A. Rodgers

Donatello, Habakuk, c. 1430

Donatello, Mary Magdalene, c. 1455, photo by I, Sailko

Oh wait, did I just post some of the weirdest sculptures that Donatello did? Oops. Sometimes I think he would have been happy as a contemporary 21st century sculptor instead of a Renaissance one. But he truly was a Renaissance artist, and quite a notable one at that.


4 thoughts on “Renaissance Artists

  1. Those sculptures are weird. I also like how the middle one has his hand awkwardly in his pocket. I wonder if those statues would be comparable to photographs of models we celebrate nowadays? Then people can see the beautiful model without having to see that specific guy or gal in person.

    Now I’m rambling. Blah-blah…

    Also, I approve of your Portal-playing adventures! Good fun!

    Hope you’re doing well!
    -Will Doran (Becca’s boyfriend)

    • The middle one (Habakuk) does have a story, because it was really intended to be hundreds of feet in the air on a tower, hence the weird/lack of details (since it was going to be so high up, nobody would see the details). What I find kind of odd is the emphasis that has been placed on it in art historical circles–it’s a pretty common sculpture to see in 100 level art history classes. I’m not convinced that it’s terribly representative of Italian art of the period, but I’m also not an Italian renaissance expert. I just think it’s an odd statue, especially since it’s so different from the typical statuary that people think of when they think of Italian renaissance.

      Also, I’m well. Our semester is over and I have all summer to work and play. Aren’t you graduating soon? Congrats!

  2. Oh xkcd, you never fail to make me laugh. Also, I’ve definitely seen the first pic you posted. It was back in Stover’s World History class. Also, the last two are great. The last one’s really kinda eerie. Like a seaweed monster. That’s my highly educated opinion.

    • Haha, I bet Stover had fun with the David sculpture. There are some interesting interpretations relating to 16th century Florentine homosexuality and sodomy laws that he’d have a field day with if he knew about them. And yes, the Mary Magdalene sculpture does look like a seaweed monster, I agree.

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