(b. ca. 1386, Firenze, d. 1466, Firenze)

The Sacrifice of Isaac

c. 1418
Marble, height 191 cm
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence

Only a short period of time separates the St George from the first sculptures executed by Donatello for the Campanile of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. They comprise the Bearded Prophet, the Prophet with Scroll, and Abraham and Isaac, which are now housed in the Museum of the Opera del Duomo. Compared with the St George this group has a completely different emphasis. The Bearded Prophet conveys a potential freedom of movement unthinkable in the works of Donatello until this moment, and in the extraordinarily realistic treatment of his face the Prophet with Scroll is a man weighed down by thought.

The group of Abraham and Isaac, recognized in part as the work of Nanni di Bartolo, reveals yet another step forward in the conquest of vertical space, and is further proof of Donatello's ceaseless experimentation. Space here is not divided up mathematically as it is in the St George but is broken into innumerable points of view.