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


Marble, mosaic, bronze, wood, height ca. 210 cm (without canopy)
Duomo, Prato

The pulpit projects from the southern corner of the façade of the Cathedral at Prato. Designed for the exhibition of the principal relic of the Cathedral, the girdle of the Virgin, it replaced a rectangular Trecento pulpit on the same site.

Its history, which is very fully documented, opens on 14 July 1428 with a contract in which Donatello and Michelozzo, then in partnership, bound themselves to execute a pulpit according to a model already made. The overall design of the pulpit has been ascribed alternatively to Donatello and Michelozzo. It is stipulated in the contract that the reliefs of putti should be executed by Donatello's own hand. The style of the seven reliefs, however, is not homogenous, and in six of the seven it is clear that studio assistants played some part. All of the seven reliefs depend from models or designs by Donatello. In each case the relief appear to have been blocked out and carried to an advanced state by a pupil, whose work was then to a greater or lesser degree retouched by Donatello. There is no means of identifying the pupils responsible for individual reliefs.