Some have perceived the David as having homo-erotic qualities, and have argued that this reflected the artist's own orientation. The Historian Paul Strathern makes the claim that Donatello made no secret of his homosexuality, and that his behaviour was tolerated by his friends. The main evidence comes from anecdotes by Angelo Poliziano in his "Detti piacevoli". This may not be surprising in the context of attitudes prevailing in the 15th- and 16th-century Florentine republic. However, little detail is known with certainty about his private life, and no mention of his sexuality has been found in the Florentine archives (in terms of denunciations) albeit which during this period are incomplete. Actual details of Donatello's relationships therefore remain speculative.
Donatello is portrayed by Ben Starr in the 2016 television series Medici: Masters of Florence. Donatello in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is named after him. The Donatello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) built by the Italian Space Agency, was one of three MPLMs operated by NASA to transfer supplies and equipment to and from the International Space Station. The others were named Leonardo and Raffaello.