Sculptor/metalsmith close to Donatello Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 500

In 1436 a fountain was furnished for a courtyard in the Florentine house of Cosimo de' Medici, long before it was transformed into the grandiose palace of today. Records show that a stonecutter, Betto d'Antonio, supplied the fountain and a painter, Antonio, was paid for gilding a spiritello (a sprite, sometimes with angelic overtones) that surmounted it. That spiritello was almost certainly this quirky baby. Its sculptor, closely familiar with Donatello's bronze angels made for the Baptistery of Siena in 1429, breezily mixed together traits of Mercury, the god of commerce beloved by the Medici, with those of Zephyr, the west wind that Florentines always welcome in May.

Sprite, Sculptor/metalsmith close to Donatello (Italian, Florence ca. 1386–1466 Florence), High-copper alloy, fire-gilt, brown natural patina where exposed, Italian, Florence

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