NANNI DI BANCO
(b. ca. 1375, Firenze, d. 1421, Firenze)
Marble, height 208 cm
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence
In 1408 a commission for executing the statues of four Evangelist for niches flanking the central portal of the Cathedral was split among three sculptors, Donatello (St John), Nanni di Banco (St Luke) and Niccolò di Piero Lamberti (St Mark). The St Matthew was offered as a prize in a competition. The idea of the competition was soon discarded and St Matthew was commissioned from Bernardo Ciuffagni. These commissions involved the challenge of the life-sized seated figure: to address not only the potential for movement and thought but also the foreshortened lap. These statues were meant to be seen from below.
St Luke was modelled on Roman senator types. Nanni calculated that his figure would be viewed from below but he neither disguised the elongated neck nor made proportional adjustments.