(Donato di Niccolo) (c. 1386-1466) Italian sculptor of the early Renaissance. He was instrumental in reviving the Classical style, as in his graceful bronze statue of the youthful David about 1433 (Bargello, Florence) and his equestrian statue of the general Gattamelata 1447–50 (Piazza del Santo, Padua). The course of Florentine art in the 15th century was strongly influenced by his work.
Donatello introduced true perspective in his relief sculptures, such as the panel of St George Slaying the Dragon about 1415–17 (Or San Michele, Florence). He absorbed Classical influences during a stay in Rome 1430–32, and David is said to be the first life-size, free-standing nude since antiquity. In his later work, such as his wood-carving of the aged Mary Magdalene about 1456 (Baptistry, Florence), he sought dramatic expression through a distorted, emaciated figural style.