Works in the Basilica di Sant'Antonio in Padua
by DONATELLO

St Anthony originally came from Lisbon. He was canonised just one year after his death in Arcella near to Padua, and the work of building his mortuary chapel of Sant'Antonio was begun. The tomb meant that the church became a very popular place of pilgrimage.

Donatello's high altar in the basilica is dedicated to the memory of the saint. The group called the Altare del Santo, which Donatello executed about 1447-50, composed altogether of twenty-nine pieces of sculpture. Seven free-standing bronze statues (Madonna Enthroned with Child, St Francis, St Anthony, St Daniel, St Justina, St Louis, St Prosdocimo), four bas-reliefs in bronze with the miracles of St Anthony (Miracle of the Ass, Miracle of the New-born Child, Miracle of the Repentant Son, Miracle of the Avaricious Man's Heart); four bas-reliefs in bronze with the symbols of the Evangelists, another bas-relief of the Dead Christ supported by two putti, twelve reliefs with Musician Angels, and finally a relief in Nanto stone depicting the Entombment.

Unfortunately today we can have no idea of the true architectural arrangement of all this material. In fact at the end of the 16th century Donatello's altar was taken to pieces to make way for another by Gerolamo Campagna and Cesare Franco, which included Donatello's Crucifix. Finally in 1895 the present altar was designed as a reconstruction of Donatello's altar, though it is an arbitrary one only, and the introduction of the bronze Crucifix is a falsification in 19th-century taste. Modern critics have repeatedly sought to arrive at a reconstruction which most closely resembles Donatello's ideal.

While he was working on the Altare del Santo, Donatello also executed the equestrian statue of Gattamelata. This was set up in front of the church in a space then used as a cemetery.

Preview Picture Data Info
Crucifix
1449
Bronze, 180 x 166 cm
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


The High Altar of St Anthony (front view)
1447-50
Bronze
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


The High Altar of St Anthony (front view)
1447-50
Bronze
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


The High Altar of St Anthony
1447-50
Bronze
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


The High Altar of St Anthony (rear view)
1447-50
Bronze
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


Madonna and Child between St Francis and St Anthony
c. 1448
Bronze, height 147, 160 and 145 cm
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


Madonna with the Child
c. 1448
Bronze, height 160 cm
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


St Louis of Toulouse
1447-50
Bronze, height 164 cm
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


St Prosdocimus
1447-50
Bronze, height 163 cm
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


St Justina
1447-50
Bronze, height 154 cm
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


St Daniel
1447-50
Bronze, height 153 cm
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


Miracle of the Ass
1447-50
Bronze, 57 x 123 cm
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


Miracle of the Ass (detail)
1447-50
Bronze
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


Miracle of the New-born Child
1447-50
Bronze, 57 x 123 cm
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


Miracle of the New-born Child (detail)
1447-50
Bronze
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


Miracle of the Repentant Son
1447-50
Bronze, 57 x 123 cm
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


Miracle of the Repentant Son (detail)
1447-50
Bronze
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


Miracle of the Avaricious Man's Heart
1447-50
Bronze, 57 x 123 cm
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


Miracle of the Avaricious Man's Heart (detail)
1447-50
Bronze
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


Symbol of the Evangelist John
1447-50
Bronze, 60 x 60 cm
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


Symbol of the Evangelist Matthew
1447-50
Bronze, 60 x 60 cm
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


The Dead Christ
1447-50
Bronze, 58 x 56 cm
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


Entombment
1447-50
Nanto stone, 139 x 188 cm
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


Reliefs of Musician Angels
1447-50
Bronze, 58 x 21 cm (each)
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


Reliefs of Musician Angels
1447-50
Bronze, 58 x 21 cm (each)
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


Relief of Musician Angels (detail)
1447-50
Bronze, 58 x 21 cm
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua


Equestrian Statue of Gattamelata
1447-50
Bronze, 340 x 390 cm (without base)
Piazza del Santo, Padua


Equestrian Statue of Gattamelata
1447-50
Bronze, 340 x 390 cm (without base)
Piazza del Santo, Padua


Equestrian Statue of Gattamelata
1447-50
Bronze, 340 x 390 cm (without base)
Piazza del Santo, Padua


Equestrian Statue of Gattamelata
1447-50
Bronze, 340 x 390 cm (without base)
Piazza del Santo, Padua


Equestrian Statue of Gattamelata (detail)
1447-50
Bronze
Piazza del Santo, Padua


Equestrian Statue of Gattamelata (detail)
1447-50
Bronze
Piazza del Santo, Padua



Summary of sculptures by Donatello
Early works
John XXIII | David | Duomo | Orsanmichele | Siena | Various
Mature works
Cantoria | Basilica di Santo | Prato Pulpit | San Lorenzo | Various
Late works
Judith and Holofernes | Pulpits of San Lorenzo | Various



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