Don Cooper – In Memoriam

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Don Cooper

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Don Cooper. We venture to guess that all participants in the Rule Breakers in the Arts workshop 2022-2023 will recall Don Cooper and his very personal presentation about the sculptor Donatello. Don might be best described as the finest type of Academy member – interested in different ideas, in discussion with colleagues, and willing to try something new.

When he joined our workshop Don knew nothing about Zoom presentations but loved art and held happy memories of his and his wife’s visit to Florence, Italy. Sharon and I wondered what would become of his presentation on Donatello. He charmed, and even surprised, all of us with his very personal slant on a rule breaker. Instead of voluminous research data, Don talked quietly about the position of the soft hands on Donatello’s St. George, a position that was a break with traditional sculpture. He spoke of his experience of being gobsmacked and crying when he first viewed David (above) at the Bargello museum. Don framed his encounter with David into a presentation on how and why Donatello was a rule breaker in the arts. He left us with a comment to discuss: “David’s body structure reinforces that victory is not always overwhelming strength.”

Donatello's David sculpture.

Don Cooper was one of the good guys and we are all happy he’d taken a chance and joined our workshop.

Don died, peacefully in his sleep at Delmanor Aurora, on October 23 at age 91. He will be missed.

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by Patti Stoll and Sharon Harris