Bertoldo di Giovanni

Bertoldo di Giovanni was an Italian sculptor and medalist who studied in the master’s workshop of Donatello, perhaps the greatest sculptor of 15th century Florence. Giovanni became Donatello’s head

assistant, finishing some of his works. Giovanni was friends with the Medici family and was a part of their household which was an important hub of Italian Renaissance art and culture. Giovanni was placed as curator of the large collection of antiquities including ancient Roman statues. At the same time Giovanni was head and master teacher of the school that Lorenzo de’ Medici, or Lorenzo the Magnificent, had founded in the garden of the Palazzo Medici for painters and sculptors. While the structure and training process of the school is unknown, it most certainly would have been an educational and inspirational environment to learn in.


One of Giovanni’s most outstanding students was Michelangelo. At the age of 15 he was invited to stay at the palace and study under Giovanni. While at the school under Giovanni’s instruction Michelangelo’s work included two marble reliefs, Madonna on the Stairs and Battle of the Centaurs. Madonna of the Stairs is a piece that shows much influence from Donatello’s low relief. Battle of the Centaurs is a variation of a bronze piece that Giovanni had created, Battle of the Horsemen which Giovanni seemed to have based on an ancient Roman sarcophagus.

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Creation of Adam (hands detail)
Creation of Adam (hands detail) by Michelangelo

Creation of Adam

Drawing of a Woman

Delphic Sibyl

"The marble not yet carved can hold the form of every thought the greatest artist has."

More Michelangelo Quotes