Marble Madonna by Donatello

In Marble Madonna we see Donatello's brilliant handling the very shallow relief carving technique called flattened relief (rilievo schiacciato), a technique which he invented, in which a sculptor could create the illusion of volumetric forms set into deep, continuous space with the most subtle and shallow carving. As you can see Donatello handles his chisel almost like a paint brush, creating a series of rippling modulation for catch the light from different angles,this gives the illusion of volume even though the actual depth of the carving can be measured in millimeters.

The scene is wonderfully animated by the almost watery clouds of the little angels with halos flying among them. At the center sits the virgin, cradling the infant Jesus. These two figures possess a restrained gravity and calm, which give the peace an affecting spirituality,