(b. ca. 1386, Firenze, d. 1466, Firenze)
Polychrome stucco, diameter 215 cm
Old Sacristy, San Lorenzo, Florence
Four roundels show the evangelists realistically robed and seated at their desks. They are three-quarter length and in profile, and in the bold perspective and foreshortening of the figures Donatello repeats his dynamic concept of representation.
In contrast to the more colourful episodes from the life of St John, Donatello restricted himself when portraying the evangelists to a contrast between the blue relief background and the figures, which are left white. There is a discreet use of ornamental gilding to pick out some details. Compared to the rather small figures in the St John scenes, the four evangelists are portrayed in monumental size. There is no identifiable model for the idea of placing the evangelists' symbols (angel, ox, lion and eagle) on the writing desk in front of them, almost as if they were small decorative sculptural pieces. Each of the four evangelists is occupied with a different task, and they are depicted in contemplative isolation.