Donatello, Judith and Holofernes, 1455-60
From the Web Gallery of Art:
To his early, free-standing bronze statue of David, Donatello added a late masterpiece of similar quality in the form of his Judith and Holofernes group. Donatello was commissioned to do the sculpture by Cosimo de’ Medici between 1455 and 1460 as the decoration for a fountain in the garden of Palazzo Medici (later Palazzo Medici-Riccardi).
In his Judith and Holofernes group, Donatello created an impressive example of his creative power, unbroken and unconventional despite his advancing years. Conceived as a fountain sculpture, the work is not constructed to be looked at from any one predetermined point of view. While Donatello is occasionally credited with producing the first autonomous, free-standing sculptures since classical times, where his Judith is concerned this reputation can be extended to include what was probably the earliest figural group to be devised as a truly three-dimensional work in concept and content.