Paintings

Description of the Donatello relief “Feast of Herod”

Description of the Donatello relief “Feast of Herod”


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The font baptistery in Italian Siena is decorated with bronze reliefs of several venerable masters of art of the 15th century. The work of the Florentine Donatello stands out among them by the special nature of building perspectives and creating relief.

The Feod of Herod was created over five years and was completed by 1427. It depicts a bronze painting of a biblical story about King Herod and the dancing Salome. The woman agreed to perform a dance in front of the king if he brought her the head of John the Baptist. Donatello's work scene implements the scripture.

The image is divided into three distant planes. A prospective picture tells the audience a story. The farthest plan shows a newly arrived warrior with the severed head of the Forerunner; he shows the trophy to the young soldiers he met in a brick corridor, they are in dismay from what he saw.

An average plan, closer to the viewer, presents a neutral scene: a peacefully playing musician and two people invited to a feast. And finally, the main thing - the foreground is filled with the largest number of characters and the most emotionally colored. A squire squatted and holds out a plate with the head of the Baptist Herod, who waved his hands in horror.

Nearby children are in a hurry to hide from a monstrous sight. One of those sitting at the table rebukes the king for a wild order, the other - in fear, covers his face with his hand. Salome and those nearby are surprisingly calm and only interested. The dancer is plastic and graceful, unlike other figures, therefore she is immediately recognizable.

Heroes of the front scene are the most voluminous, the perspective is read thanks to the evenly decreasing squares of the tiles on the floor of the picture. At the Donatello relief, the space masterfully unfolds smoothly, and the subtlest gradation of the volumes of figures is also striking.





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