This Mary Magdalene was sculpted by Donatello. Artistically and materialistically, the sculpture departs from his smooth bronze and marble work. Mary stands over 6′ tall, made of wood and gesso. More than stone or marble, I believe the wood and gesso enabled Donatello to sculpt something staggering, unique and psychologically telling. The piece is a slight enigma to the art history world — we don’t know exactly when it was made, for whom, and where it was originally placed.
In the work of the early sculptor Donatello (born Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi) life seems to burst out of the metal and stone. His greatest masterpieces include the vigilant marble Saint George (ca. 1417) in the Orsanmichele msueum, Florence; the graceful figure of young David (ca. 1440); and the impressive bronze equestrian statue of Gattamelata (erected 1453) that harked back to ancient Roman art. Donatello’s use of sinuous forms, which encourages the eye to move around the figure, influenced generations of Italian sculptors, mostly notably , well into the 16th century.
Sculpture of Donatello | Italy Travel and Life
This statue of biblical patriarch Abraham about to sacrifice his son Isaac was sculpted by Donatello from marble sometime between 1408 and 1416. It is in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence.