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

Marzocco

c. 1419
Sandstone, height 136 cm
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence

Donatello was commissioned in 1419, the occasion of the visit to Florence by Pope Martin V, to produce a stone figure of the Marzocco. It was intended to be erected on the staircase leading up to the papal chambers in the monastery of Santa Maria Novella. The lion, the embodiment of the proud Florentine character, is holding the city's lily coat of arms. Donatello outdid all earlier depictions of Florence's heraldic animal in the liveliness of its expression.