Događaj > Donatello’s heritage

DONATELLO’S HERITAGE Observations about sculpture and goldsmithery in Padua between the Fourteenth and Fifteenth centuries The attribution of a previously uncredited work to Donatello, after being confirmed following careful restoration, the Croce (Cross) - an outstanding item of the Museo Diocesano - in the church of Santa Maria dei Servi, gives Musei Civici food for thoughts about the Florentine master’s activity in Padua and his influence on the local artistic environment. Such an insight can be accomplished through a selection of works by Donatello himself, Bartolomeo Bellano, Giovannni de Fonduli, Andrea Briosco and Severo da Ravenna. These works come from city collections, churches and some items from private collections. The artists who followed his style preferred marble, terracotta, bronze with a special inclination for sculpture.
Donatello reached Padua in 1443-1444 and lived there for a decade. His presence turned Padua into one of the most relevant Renaissance towns and his style was influenced by a somewhat overdue naturalism with a late-Gothic feature. His prospectic knowledge allowed him to resolve volume/space issues with the same mastery as in painting. He proved to be a virtuoso in recovering classical subjects, especially late period expressionist features and horror vacui.
One of his apprentices was Bartolomeo Bellano, born in Padua about in 1437-1438. As a young boy he joined Donatello’s workshop and followed the master to Florence. Bellano contributed to the master’s last works and completed them with Bertoldo di Giovanni’s help. In the Bible history reliefs for Sant’Antonio presbytery, which were melted in the second half of the eighties of the fourteenth century, he demonstrates to be a skilled story-teller of choral episodes. In their original location these reliefs are difficult to be interpreted; however the short-distance set-up of this exhibition allows the audience to appreciate the author’s highest level of expertise in his mature age.
Following Donatello’s activity in Padua, a considerable output of terracotta items can be traced. Giovanni and Agostino de Fonduli’s workshop stands out. San Giovanni’s fine statue testifies the birth of a mutual language in which the activity of the greatest Northern-Italy bronze artist, Andrea Briosco, known as Riccio (1460-1532) is involved. He was the artist who completed the Roccabonella monument that Bellano left unfinished. The Madonna at the Ca’ d’oro in Venice was manufactured in this span of time. His expressionistic-based models achieve ancient and classicist rigor, whose instances can be seen in the terracottas with San Canziano, San Girolamo and Sant’Agnese (or Canzianella) in the church of San Canziano in Padua. These statues carry on a wider project that Bellano had started with the statue of Sant’Anna.
The first decade of the fifteenth century was probably the time when Riccio and Severo da Ravenna cooperated the most. The latter was the author and supporter of a wide range of classical subjects and he started the manufacture of small bronze artefacts. Between 1520 and 1530 some polychrome terracotta masterpieces are dated, such as the Madonna of the Scuola del Santo and the Testa di Madonna at the Museo Padovano. These works contain an ample range of elements taken from the study of classical antiquity.
The group which completes this part of the exhibition dates back to the last period, 1530. It is the Compianto in terracotta for the church of San Canziano, namely two statues of weeping Mary. Briosco, following Guido Mazzoni’s standards, blends his mastery for the use of colours with a light accademicism: large surfaces with chiaroscuro definition - due to deep engravings - lights up a dramatic patheticism.
Donatello’s influence was remarkable in craftsmanship, too, especially in goldsmithery. At the temporary exhibition areas in Palazzo Zuckermann a wide selection of pieces of church jewellery belonging to the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries - reliquaries and cultural items exceptionally borrowed from the Santo’s treasury - are shown.


City Museums
Piazza Eremitani 8, Padova
tel. +39 049 8204551
opening times: throughout the year: 09:00-19:00
Palazzo Zuckermann, Corso Garibaldi 33
tel. +39 049 8205664
opening times: throughout the year: 10:00-19:00
all Museums are closed on: Mondays (unless public holidays), January 1, May 1, December 25-26
Tickets: full-price 10.00 euro; reduced price: 8.00 groups of minimum 10 persons, young people of 18 to 25
All Entry tickets must be purchased from the City Museums office in Piazza Eremitani 8
How to reach City Museums and Palazzo Zuckermann:
from train station: buses nos. 3/ 10/ 12; on Sundays and public holidays: buses nos. 42; metrotram;
by car and coach: motorway exit Padova Est: Fairgrounds car park, shuttle bus service to centre of town
motorway exits Padova Sud and Padova Ovest: car park in ex-Foro Boario (Prato della Valle), shuttle bus service to centre of town; Via D. Valeri (off Via Trieste); Piazza Insurrezione (from 10.00, limited space).

  • piazza Eremitani 8
    Padova (PD)
  • corso Garibaldi 33
    Padova (PD)


The institutes called the City Museums of Padova (Musei Civici di Padova) include the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Medieval and Modern Art, the Scrovegni Chapel and Palazzo Zuckermann (Museum of Applied Arts and Bottacin Museum). They contain the permanent collections of public property; during the year many  interesting activities take place, such as: cultural events, exhibitions, concerts, conventions.
Poslovni kontakti
via Porciglia 35
35121 - Padova (PD)
+39 049 8204513
Dodatne informacije
The Museums had their origins in various collections of works of art, gathered together over the centuries. After the official institution in 1857, collections of books, paintings, sculptures and applied arts all arrived, bearing witness to the history of Padova, from its remote origins until the present day. In 1985, the main museum was transferred to the cloisters of the old Eremitani monastery.
The original collection of the Archaeological Museum was represented by the stone tablets and other artefacts arranged in the loggias of the Palazzo della Ragione. The exhibition begins with objects of pre-Roman age, with findings of great interest going back to the 8th to the 4th-3rd centuries B.C.. There is an important series of Venetic funerary stelae, including those of Ostiala Gallenia. and from Camin. The Roman section is amply represented, with the bust of Silenus, the elegant memorial stone of the dancer Claudia Toreuma, and the monumental tomb of the Volumnii family. There are also many mosaics. The rooms devoted to Egyptian antiquities have two very fine statues of the goddess Sekhmet. Other smaller rooms contain Greek, Etruscan and Italiot materials, a large collection of Greek and Apulian vases. Architectural examples of Roman age are displayed in the cloisters.
Initiated in the late 18th century, the Art Museum now boasts a total of about three thousand paintings, offering a panoramic view of Veneto work in this field from the early 14th to the 19th centuries. Here are works by Giotto, Squarcione, J. Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, Romanino, Bassano, Veronese, Tintoretto, Piazzetta and Tiepolo, and also ones by foreign artists, mainly Flemish and Dutch. The Lapidarium contains architectural and decorative fragments coming from the city of Padova and its surroundings. The rich collection of sculptures going back to the 14th-16th centuries contains works by Briosco, the Lombardo family, and Canova. There is also an important section devoted to bronze sculptures, an expressive form which flourished in Padova in Renaissance times.
In 1300, a wealthy Paduan seigneur, Enrico Scrovegni, purchased the area of the Roman Arena in order to construct a sumptuous palazzo to be used as his residence. Next to this, he wished to build a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, in suffrage of his father Reginaldo, mentioned by Dante in Canto XVII of the Inferno, accused of being a usurer. After having met Giotto, Scrovegni commissioned the artist to decorate the Chapel. According to the most reliable statements, Giotto carried out this work between 1303 and 1305. The frescoes entirely cover the walls and ceiling of the building, and narrate episodes in the lives of the Virgin Mary and Christ. The vaulted ceiling is a blue star-spangled sky. The narration is depicted in three bands of frescoes on the walls and the triumphal arch. Under there is a basement of imitation marble, showing the Vices and Virtues in appropriate niches. Above the entrance is the Universal Judgement. The crucifix, which once completed the decoration of the Chapel, may today be admired in a hall of the City Museum. The altar holds statues by Giovanni Pisano.
The Multimedial Room at the Scrovegni Chapel includes an itinerary conposed of virtual-reality stations, video clips and real reconstructions. Visitors can experience full immersion in the 14th-century world of Giotto and of his painting, and come to know all about the great Tuscan artist, his work, and his life and times. The project also foresees the need to regulate the flow of visitors to the Chapel, in order to safeguard the precious frescoes.
Still conceived in late 19th-century style, Palazzo Zuckermann was designed by the Milanese architect Aroso, for the Paduan industrialist Enrico Zuckermann, in the years immediately preceding the First World War. The collections of applied and decorative arts are housed on the ground and first floors, and the numismatic displays of the Bottacin Museum on the second floor.

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