If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:4:53

Video transcript

we're on the first floor for San Michaela which is this extraordinarily complicated and important building it's a granary and it's odd to think of a granary right in the middle of town well we don't often think about granary greeneries were a place to store grain but this was incredibly important because there were years when a town might be under a siege and you couldn't get to the fields or there might be bad harvest right so right here on the first floor of horse and Micheala there was a grain market and it was open and then upstairs there were the storage areas and those are huge spaces and so this was at one point the church and then became a granary and there was an image of the Madonna that was located here that was believed to have miraculous powers and at some point it burned and then another image of the virgin was created that also had miraculous houses Heusen I think we're up to the third version just by Bernardo Dottie but it's surrounded by this extraordinary altar which was by or Konya who we generally think of as a painter it's an amazing Tabernacle housing this miraculous image of the Virgin so we have to imagine that the space was once open okay so the walls that are there now were not there originally so this was really a part of the city the city in a sense flowed through it I think it's important to think about this place as an intersection of the spiritual it was a church and of the sort of everyday business of the city that is it was a granary and it's eating its location is midway between the great Cathedral of the duomo and of the town hall of the Signoria it's here that the first Renaissance sculptures were created for the niches on the outside of this building it's in this context that the first really humanist Renaissance sculptures are born let's go upstairs because sculptures that used to be in the niches are now all protected upstairs in the area that used to hold the grain we just climbed up a long flight of stay and we entered a large open space filled with the sculptures the monumental figures that stood on the outside of or sand McKay lay in the niches so now if you go outside you see casts of the originals which are here because it's safer from the elements to protect them in the very early 15th century the guilds of Florence each were responsible for completing a figure for a niche on the outside of Horace and Michaela and the gills each commissioned the sculptor of their choice and we're sitting in front of Donatello's st. mark which was commissioned by the linen Draper's guild Donatello gives us this classical figure so what is classical about it I mean the first thing that I see is of course this incredible contrapposto that comes through even under that heavy cloth I mean look at the way for instance that his right engaged leg the drape falls down almost as if that's the fluting of a column and we can see his left knee pressing through the drapery so Donatella is really reviving Quadra pasta which hasn't been seen in Western art in a thousand years but it's so beautifully handled you have the sense of the absolute stability of this figure and yet the sense of his movement the thing that's most impressive is the psychological intensity of this figure which is really overwhelming there's a sense almost as though along with the contrapposto he's going to move and he's going to speak there's a real sense of the dignity of mark here and I think by extension that sense that one has in the Florentine Renaissance of the dignity of man of human beings there's a kind of intensity there's a kind of focus there's a kind of deep human sense of understanding in that face in the just a little bit of the furrow of the brow that you can see in a way that the head is cocked slightly and it's off-center in terms of the shoulders turning back around and there's an interior awareness a kind of interior intelligence that comes through so or CLE at the same time without a halo yeah I have no doubt that this is someone who sees something that ordinary human beings don't see when you look at his eyes he is in a way seeing past us so isn't that the core of the story of the Florentine experience in the 15th century you have this intensely devout culture and yet at the same time you have a culture that is beginning to really celebrate human experience the individual and the idea of the rational