Donatello’s Promiscuous Technique: Experimentation and Collaboration in an Italian Renaissance Workshop


Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellowships in the History of Art


Art History


“Donatello’s Promiscuous Technique” is the first book-length study devoted to that sculptor’s lifelong preoccupation with material experimentation. Specifically, it recuperates a set of practical commitments in the culture of Donatello’s workshop: a culture that fostered unprecedented traffic between media and across professional boundaries, and which was amply theorized in popular oral traditions, especially shop talk. The study thus offers a new approach to fifteenth-century Italy’s foremost sculptor by drawing attention away from his well-known intellectual influences and considering instead how his unusual approach to facture arose from concerns particular to his artisanal milieu. It also reshapes narratives about artistic innovation at the dawn of Italian modernity, demonstrating that new representational possibilities in the period were not only the consequence of individual accomplishment, or of the fine arts’ intellectual separation from craft traditions, but also of collaborative transfers of skill and craft know-how between makers.